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Power of attorney essential for addressing health care situations

When people in Maryland engage in estate planning, they often focus on creating wills. Although wills are certainly important for addressing what would happen to one's assets in the event of one's death, death usually is not the major issue people face. When a debilitating illness or medical event, such as a stroke, happens, a power of attorney is of the utmost importance.

A will directs how someone's personal representative is to conduct his or her business after he or she dies; however, the expenses associated with nursing home care, hospital treatment and ambulance transportation can quickly deplete an individual's assets. In these situations, there is no business for wills to address after people die. A proper power of attorney enables the friends or family members of a patient to manage the patient's medical care as well as protect some of his or her assets in the midst of a medical crisis.

Some individuals believe they can simply create powers of attorney late in life. However, a person may fall ill at any age and end up needing one sooner than anticipated. Waiting to have a power of attorney created may be likened to waiting to purchase medical insurance after one gets sick.

Web-based power of attorney forms exist but may not protect people in many cases, as estate planning issues are regularly changing, and vendors of these forms cannot keep up with these changes. Many of these forms also lack essential details that are particularly helpful for managing the assets of nursing home residents. In Maryland, proper legal guidance can help a person to create an effective power of attorney.

Source:, "Power of Attorney - An Estate Plan's Most Powerful Tool", Nov. 2, 2015

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