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Power of attorney important part of estate plan

For a person in Maryland, one difficult aspect of engaging in estate planning involves choosing the individual who will receive the power to take action on his or her behalf in the event of death or incapacity. This type of power is known as the power of attorney. Choosing the correct individual or individuals depends on many factors.

One kind of power of attorney is a financial power of attorney. It is also called a durable power of attorney. This type enables another individual to make tax, financial and real estate decisions on one's behalf.

The second type of power of attorney is the health care type. This type enables another individual to make decisions related to one's health. Both powers of attorney, though, immediately terminate after one dies. At this point, the power to take action on one's behalf is done via the execution of a valid will or via a probate court appointment.

It is also important to consider an individual's ability to handle those powers given to him or her. For couples who are married, the other spouse is often named the power of attorney, but this may not be advisable in every situation. After all, some people have spouses who have never paid bills, or perhaps these other spouses are incapacitated themselves. In this case, naming the oldest child might be a wise move; regardless, it is essential to name the person who would best make financial or health care decisions. Proper legal guidance may help a person in Maryland effectively create a power of attorney that will meet his or her needs down the road.

Source:, "Choose wisely: Power of attorney and personal rep", Michael Maas, Dec. 28, 2015

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