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At first glance, the issuance of a power of attorney may appear straightforward. In fact, in order for a power of attorney to be valid, the legal document must simply specify that the maker of the document gives the power to make certain decisions for that individual to another person. In Maryland and other states, there are a wide range of issues to consider when drafting and executing such a document.

The first is to decide who to appoint as the agent, known as the attorney-in-fact. This is probably the most important decision in the process, and the agent can be one person or more than one. It makes sense to appoint someone trustworthy, responsible and organized. It's also necessary to decide if the power of attorney granted is going to be a durable one. If so, it would give the agent immediate authority to act.

The specific powers to be granted must also be considered. The agent could be authorized to pay bills. The agent could also be granted authority make financial planning, investment and gifting decisions. He or she could also be granted the right to make decisions regarding trust funds. The agent will make decisions for the benefit of the maker, often handling legal matters and even family concerns.

These decisions are often very complicated. Maryland residents who are considering planning for the future may want to speak with an estate planning attorney who can help guide them through the process. These attorneys will know which plans to put in place, as well as the legal documents necessary to effectuate them. In many family circumstances, a power of attorney is an essential estate planning document.

Source: elderlawanswers.com, "Decisions to Make for Your Power of Attorney", April 9, 2015

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