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Understanding fiduciary duties of power of attorney is essential

People are right to worry about the future. Anything can happen that could leave a person incapacitated for a significant period of time. This is why it is important to have a plan in place in the case that this does occur in Maryland or in any other state. Including a power of attorney as part of one’s estate-planning strategy is meant to address this issue.

A power of attorney document gives another person the right to make decisions for somebody who is incapacitated. However, it may be a good idea to make sure the person chosen for this task understands the basic fiduciary duties required of a person named as an agent in a power of attorney document. There are four basic fiduciary duties under a power of attorney.

First, the agent must only act in the best interests of the principal, which is the person who is incapacitated. One must also be sure to manage the principal’s finances and property with care. Also, agents under a power of attorney must avoid co-mingling his or her assets with assets owned by the principal. Lastly, agents under a power of attorney must maintain accurate and complete records.

Additionally, those who are agents of a power of attorney will want to have an understanding of the relevant laws in Maryland. This will help the agent make the best decisions in the interest of the principal. Further, when one forms a power of attorney document, he or she should be aware of applicable rules and regulations in order to make sure the power of attorney is legally enforceable.

Source: MSU Extension, "Power of attorney", Scott Matteson, Aug. 20, 2014

Source: MSU Extension, "Power of attorney", Scott Matteson, Aug. 20, 2014

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