Having a properly executed General Durable Power of Attorney is the foundation of financial management in the event of your incapacity during your lifetime, and one of the major components of a complete estate plan, whether that plan be a Will-based or Revocable Trust-based. Part of what we refer to as “ancillary documents”, or documents that are implemented in concert with a Will or Revocable Trust, the power of attorney document is the key to lifetime management of your non-trust assets. Further, your properly executed power of attorney document goes a long way towards the avoidance of guardianship of your property, a proceeding that is many times unnecessary, costly, and cumbersome, and which can result in the loss of your ability to control your financial affairs. In a General Durable Power of Attorney Power of Attorney, your agent’s authority is effective immediately, the idea being that you give your agent authority to act immediately, if necessary, and the power of agent continues on (is not affected) in the event of your disability. Powers of Attorney can also be “springing,” meaning that the power of your agent is not effective immediately, but becomes effective sometime in the future when you are determined to no longer be able to act for yourself. Maryland’s Statutory Power of Attorney is a must for everyone and can be used in conjunction with a supplemental power of attorney to accomplish estate planning and elder law planning purposes.
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