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Dementia can attack anyone, so all Maryland residents should plan for a future that could require help from a loved one. Putting a power of attorney in place before this happens is essential. The papers that need to be addressed can be done so with an attorney, but many different types of papers have to be considered.

Anyone in this position should consider a power of attorney, a living will, and the correct HIPPA forms for his or her state of residence. However, four different types of powers of attorney exist, and each one acts differently than the others. Each person would need to select the one that best fits his or her individual situation.

The first is a limited power of attorney, which is for a specific purpose and for a limited time. The second is a general power of attorney, which gives the designated person all the powers and rights of the patient, meaning that person can speak with doctors, financial planners and other professionals on behalf of the patient. The third type is a durable power of attorney, which is used when a patient becomes incapacitated. Lastly, a springing power of attorney gives a designated person the power to act on the patient's behalf but only after the patient becomes incapacitated.

Each Maryland resident will want to discuss his or her options with an attorney who understands estate planning so that he or she can put in place the correct documents in case they are needed in the future. Even young adults should consider estate planning that includes a power of attorney because no one can know when early dementia may occur, which could jeopardize the person's ability to make decisions alone. When an estate plan is in place, the planner has the opportunity to choose who will make those life and death decisions when the time comes.

Source: financial-planning.com, "Powers of Attorney: Which Type Does Your Client Need?", Katie Kuehner-Heber, May 11, 2015

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