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Many of the issues associated with estate planning have emotional strings attached to them. Still, it serves individuals well to face difficult challenges rather than allow something bad to happen due to inaction. One of the most difficult areas for Maryland family members to face includes the mental impairment of old or sick members of the family. When family members are unable to see to their personal or financial affairs, a durable power of attorney in the hands of a trusted family member or friend may be a good solution.

The Maryland population is increasing in age, and long medical conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia may make it impossible for aging people to continue to address their affairs. A durable power of attorney gives a family member or other appointed individual the legal right to make decisions for the person who is unable to do so. It is good to be well informed of the different options and limitations of the durable power of attorney, since each individual's needs are different.

A key benefit to a durable power of attorney is that it continues when an infirm person is incapacitated. Many other options terminate when the individual becomes unwell, which may defeat the purpose of setting up the power of attorney. In addition to the durable power of attorney, there are other options that may serve an individual's needs depending on the circumstances, including trust management companies that manage one's estate on a long-term basis.

Many people engage in extensive estate planning related to the possible end of their lives. Many do not consider disability or infirmity when they are making plans about how they will be cared for in their later years. A little extra attention to the issues in the present can make any difficulties associated with aging and wellness later easier for all members of the family to manage. A durable power of attorney or some other plan to address these circumstances can ease the burden for family members and decision makers in the future.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "The Hidden Danger That Could Destroy Your Savings," Dan Solin, Feb. 12, 2013

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