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Things to consider when assigning power of attorney

Writing a will can be a daunting task for all individuals, whether they are writing one for the first time or making changes to an existing document. For some Maryland residents, it may feel as though they are relinquishing control or making premature decisions about their lives. This may be especially true for those who are considering assigning a power of attorney

Individuals may find it helpful to have a backup agent, or they may find it helpful to separate the power of attorney between two people. It can be separated into financial and health care powers of attorney so that no one person is burdened with all of the decisions. One might also find it beneficial to include the entire family by informing them who the officially appointed agent is. This way the family may be more inclined to work together when making difficult decisions. 

It is also possible to leave detailed instructions or specifications in a will. These instructions may help to determine how much power the agent has or even specific instructions on how he or she should act in certain situations. For example, instructions may be left detailing who should take control of a business, or what medical procedures the individual does not wish to undergo. People who are having a will drawn up may also find it comforting to know that they can change their minds. It is possible to fire the person who has been given the power of attorney.

Seeking the advice of an attorney may help to ease the worries of those Maryland residents wishing to appoint a power of attorney or wishing to write a will for the first time. An attorney may be able to explain to his or her clients, and their families if they wish, what each of these documents entails. This may help to prevent fighting amongst well-meaning family members and ensure that the client's wishes are carried out smoothly.

Source:, "Colliton: 6 tips to avoid Power of Attorney abuse", Janet M. Colliton, Oct. 2, 2017

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