How to Get a Power of Attorney in Maryland

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Maryland law permits an individual to implement powers of attorney for health care or financial purposes. Specific requirements have been established for the content of a power of attorney, as well as for the procedure to follow in creating one. Compliance with Maryland statutory provisions is necessary to ensure the validity and legality of a power of attorney.

Determine what type of power of attorney you require: health care or financial. A health-care power of attorney designates a person to make medical treatment decisions if you are unable to do so yourself. A financial power of attorney assigns a person to deal with specific finance-related matters on your behalf (even if you possess the ability to do so on your own). Maryland law prohibits combining health care and financial powers in the same power of attorney.

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Identify the limitations you desire on a particular power of attorney. Under Maryland law, a power of attorney can be general or limited in its scope and application. For example, decide whether you want a financial power of attorney that permits the appointed agent to deal with all or just particular financial matters on your behalf. Similarly, consider the types of decisions you desire to permit an agent in a health-care power of attorney to make on your behalf.

Obtain an appropriate power of attorney form that is consistent with the laws of Maryland. Financial power of attorney forms typically are available at banks and other financial institutions. Health-care power of attorney forms can be accessed through hospitals, doctors' offices and even religious organizations. If you need to confirm that a particular form is in compliance with Maryland law, contact the Maryland Attorney General at 410-576-6300.

Select an individual to be your agent for your power of attorney. The agent is the individual who makes financial or health-care decisions on your behalf.

Complete the power of attorney form, setting forth any limitations you desire within the document itself. Include the name of the agent within the instrument.

Sign the completed power of attorney in front of two witnesses. A notary is not necessary pursuant to Maryland law. The person designated as the agent in the power of attorney cannot be a witness.