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Many Maryland residents may believe that planning an estate is only important for wealthy people. However, estate planning is important for anybody, no matter what income bracket a person falls under. Also, most people may believe that the only purpose of an estate plan is to direct distribution of assets after one's death. Other types of estate planning documents can be just as important. For instance, a power of attorney is an estate planning instrument designed to go into effect when one becomes incapacitated.

This specific type of legal instrument designates an individual or an entity who can make decisions on one's behalf in the case of being incapacitated. The financial power of attorney usually has the ability to handle financial matters. A healthcare power of attorney is given the right to make medical decisions for a person if he or she is unable to do so for himself or herself.

Having a power of attorney document in place can significantly reduce the amount of stress a person's family may experience in the case of an unfortunate accident which leaves a person incapacitated. Without this document, who makes decisions regarding life saving medical procedures can be unclear and can cause a contentious environment during a situation that is already difficult for everybody. Also, it is important to carefully craft the language of the legal document in order to avoid having it challenged in court.

This will require being familiar with contract law as well as other applicable rules that regulate power of attorney documents in Maryland or in any other state. Each situation is different, therefore it is essential to take into consideration the details of one's specific circumstances when creating the legal document. Also, one should update this document on a regular basis in order to reflect any significant changes in one's life.

Source: iBerkshires.com, Estate Investment Planning is Not Just for the Rich and Famous, No author, Nov. 18, 2013

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