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Most people do not live in complete isolation and have many connections to family and loved ones. This is why it is important to make sure to protect one's assets, which can eventually be passed down to surviving family members, loved ones and friends in the case of one's death, in Maryland or in any other state. A complete estate plan is the best way to ensure that one's assets are protected for the future. However, many times, estate planning is not only about preparing for death, but also preparing for the case of one being incapacitated, which is where assigning a power of attorney comes in.

The power of attorney document gives a person or entity permission to make important financial and medical decisions in the case of one being incapacitated and unable to make decisions for oneself. However, the person or entity chosen as power of attorney will be required to adhere to several basic duties, which is legally required. Therefore, it is important for one to discuss these legal duties with the person or entity that one chooses as power of attorney.

The first duty of power of attorney is to always act in the best interests of the person who has been incapacitated. The second duty is to manage the person's money, property and assets with care. Also, the power of attorney agent should make sure to keep one's own property and money separate from the incapacitated person. Finally, the person given power of attorney should maintain accurate records.

After a person has chosen the individual or entity desired for power of attorney, one should make sure to complete the proper legal paperwork and documentation required to implement the plan. Failure to do so can result in the power of attorney designation being contested in court for one reason or another. However, in order to properly draft the necessary legal documents, one will need to have knowledge of the relevant laws in Maryland or any other state.

Source: lifehacker.com, "What You Need to Know About Being Power of Attorney", Dave Greenbaum, Jan. 11, 2015

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