Obtaining a durable power of attorney is an important step in Maryland estate planning. It should often be one of the first steps people consider making if they are suffering from a serious illness or medical problem. Too many people focus on creating wills and providing for their families after their death but few consider what might happen to their family if they are alive but unable to make important decisions.
There are many horror stories told about what happens when a family member fails to leave behind a will. Few people consider what happens when a family member does not leave a power of attorney even though this happens everyday. When a family member fails to leave behind a power of attorney they are leaving their family in a terrible position.
Family members attempting to care for their sick relative find themselves unable to make even basic decisions and choices. With no legal right to handle decisions that are medical related or financially related family members often find themselves unable to properly care for their relative. When funds are frozen and medical decisions cannot be made long, drawn out, legal battles sometimes begin in an effort to determine who should be legally allowed to do what.
Before rushing into the estate planning process in order to set up a power of attorney in Maryland there are a few things that should be remembered. For starters you must be sure to choose a person that is absolutely above reproach. The person who becomes your agent must be a person that will always act in your best interest and see that all of your wishes are carried out. Once the power of attorney has been prepared it must be verified by an attorney to avoid problems that might arise because the item is not considered to be legally binding.
In some situations two powers of attorneys might be necessary. One might grant a family member medical rights while the other handles all financial matters. In some situations the holder of the financial power of attorney might be a professional that is chosen to avoid any conflicts of interest that may arise. It is not uncommon to see situations where a spouse or child holds the medical power of attorney while a lawyer holds the general power of attorney.