It is common for older people to have their mental abilities become diminished as they age. A power of attorney document specifies a person who will be responsible for making financial and medical decisions when one becomes incapacitated or mentally incompetent and therefore unable to make decisions for oneself. The person named in a financial power of attorney document can make financial decisions for the incapacitated individual which means possibly having to deal with any remaining debts owed in Maryland or in any other state.
If the incapacitated person does not earn much income, debts owed can become a problem which the person named as power of attorney will have to deal with. This is common with elderly people who may be living on only Social Security payments. However, the power of attorney should know that Social Security income cannot be garnished by creditors except for in cases of debts owed to the government as well as spousal or child support.
It is also good to know that the person named as power of attorney cannot be pursued by creditors of the incapacitated person. They only way a creditor could do this is if the person chosen as power of attorney happens to also be a co-signor or owner of a loan or debt account. However, the financial power of attorney does give one the ability to respond to any collections activities against the incapacitated person.
Dealing with debts is just one use for having a power of attorney document in place in Maryland or in any other state. The individual with financial power of attorney can also sell real estate or other assets if it becomes necessary to raise funds for some reason such as to pay medical bills. Also, a healthcare power of attorney allows for making medical decisions for an individual who is not able to do so for himself or herself. On the other hand, the power of attorney document needs to be drafted properly in order to avoid being challenged in court.
Source: redding.com, Debt Adviser: Power of attorney is not responsible for debt ??? Redding Record Searchlight, Steve Bucci, Oct. 26, 2013