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What is a Maryland Power of Attorney?

A Maryland power of attorney is a legal form that acts as the authorization for an individual, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions, healthcare decisions, real estate decisions, or estate decisions on behalf of the person granting this authority. A Maryland POA is often used for estate planning. However, there are other instances where a POA is a useful tool.

Quick Reference:

The person granting permission is referred to as the principal, donor, or grantor.

The person receiving authorization is known as the agent of the attorney-in-fact.

MD POA Laws:

A Maryland power of attorney must comply with Maryland's General and Limited Power of Attorney Act (Title 17). This act specifically outlines the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney. It ensures that the form, as well as its duties, are protected under the law. Maryland’s statutory forms can be found here. Here are some of the requirements to create a POA:

  • The principal must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind.
  • The agent must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal's address and telephone number must be listed.
  • The agent's address and telephone number must be listed.
  • The principal may also list a successor agent.
  • The principal may give a list of what powers the agent does and does not have, including special instructions.
  • An effective date as well as a termination date can be included.
  • The principal must sign the POA in front of a notary public as well as in front of two witnesses.

The principal has the right to specifically state what the agent can and cannot do on their behalf. The principal has the legal right to revoke (terminate) the POA, even if it is durable, as long as they are competent. Additionally, a Maryland power of attorney terminates when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal ecomes incapacitated, if the power of attorney is not durable.
  • The power of attorney provides that it terminates.
  • The purpose of the power of attorney is fulfilled.
  • The principal revokes the agent’s authority or the agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns and the power of attorney does not provide for another agent to act under the power of attorney.
  • If the principal and agent are married and files for divorce, legal separation, or annulment, the fiduciary relationship between the parties ends unless the power of attorney states otherwise.

Why Would You Use a Maryland Power of Attorney Form?

There are several reasons why someone would use a Maryland power of attorney form to give someone the authority to make decisions related to their tangible personal property, financial institution transactions, tax matters, or their well-being. Some of those reasons include:

  • Age, mental health reasons, and illness. They may want their affairs handled in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those who are terminally ill and those in perfect health, establish the right powers of attorney to have their matters appropriately handled and their wishes fulfilled.
  • A person with a mental illness may require a different type of power of attorney than a person with a terminal illness.
  • A person with dependent children may have the need for a different power of attorney than a person with no dependent children.

Each person’s power of attorney needs may vary. Thankfully, there are several types of power of attorney documents. Before you decide to use a power of attorney, you should seek legal advice. Ask about the best POA to suit your needs and how to revoke a power of attorney if it becomes necessary. Here are a few of the most common.

Maryland General Power of Attorney

A Maryland general power of attorney document grants a single agent the authority to handle matters on behalf of the principal.

  • However, this authorization terminates if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated. The principal can revoke a general POA as long as they are competent. The Maryland Attorney General's Office provides a free PDF download of a general power of attorney

Maryland Durable Power of Attorney

A Maryland durable power of attorney is an "extended version" of a general power of attorney because it goes beyond the parameters of a general power of attorney.

  • The term "durable" comes from the fact that this authorization continues over the principal if they were to become disabled or incapacitated. The principal can revoke a durable POA as long as they are competent.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney grants limited power to whatever the principal specifies.

  • In many cases, an agent will have the power to handle finances or make medical decisions, but will not have the authority to do other things such as sell property (depending on what the principal decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the authority diminishes if the principal becomes incapacitated or dies. A limited power of attorney terminates when its purpose is fulfilled.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney appoints a healthcare agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal.

  • It can be nondurable or durable. Much like a general power of attorney, a nondurable medical power of attorney loses its effectiveness if the principal becomes incapacitated or dies. If the medical power of attorney is durable, the authority continues if the principal is incapacitated but it is still somewhat limited. The agent cannot make end-of-life decisions on behalf of the principal. Instead, the principal needs to create a living will or an advance directive according to Maryland state law. The Maryland Attorney General's office provides a free PDF download of an advance health care directive.

Guardian of Minor Child Power of Attorney

A guardian of minor child power of attorney allows a parent or guardian to grant decision-making rights over their child to a temporary guardian in the case that the parent or guardian may not be present during a medical emergency.

  • This form is generally used if the parent or guardian must leave the country for a period of time. This POA is also used if the minor child is living or traveling temporarily with another adult that is not their parent or guardian.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

A real estate of power of attorney grants power to the agent to buy, sell, and manage real estate on the principal's behalf.

  • It has the flexibility to be either durable or limited. Because it is such a powerful document the principal should get legal advice before using it.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney allows the agent, generally a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Comptroller of Maryland on behalf of the principal.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney allows the agent to buy, sell, and handle the necessary paperwork with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration on the principal's behalf.

  • The official name of this form is VR-470.

Download a PDF or Word Template

Maryland Power of Attorney

Maryland Last Will and Testament

Maryland Living Will

Maryland Health Care Proxy