A Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney is imperative for all adults who wish to take care of their finances should they become incapacitated. A comprehensive durable power of attorney allows you to select who you want take care of your assets while you are alive but unable to act on your own. It also protects you by imposing fiduciary duties on the named person(s) so that they cannot clean out your bank account or take your house for their own purposes.
Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney Helps You Help Yourself When You Cannot Do So
If you become incapacitated, who would pay your bills, protect your assets, obtain long-term care, and apply for Medicare or Medicaid benefits on your behalf? Many people believe that if they have joint bank accounts with a spouse or child(ren), they will be able to handle all of that. Joint bank accounts function well for withdrawing money or accessing accounts, but are insufficient for other tasks. Who is authorized to discuss your bills, including medical bills with a third party? Who is authorized to engage an attorney on your behalf if a legal matter arises? Who is authorized to sell your house for you if you should need to do that but are in a long-term care facility?
A Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney for Your Protection
It allows you to select an agent or agents to take care of your bills and assets, while you are alive but unable to act on your own. It also imposes fiduciary duties on the agent or agents so that they cannot use the funds in a bank account or sell your assets for their own purposes.
Joint Bank Accounts in Maryland Function Differently Upon Death
If you have listed one of your children as a joint owner on a bank account, s/he has access to your funds, of course. But also, s/he will also receive, as the surviving owner of the account, all of the funds in that joint account upon your death. This person has no obligation to share the account funds with any other of your children. As a result, joint accounts often serve to disinherit any children not named on the account. This may not be your intention, but it is inevitable unless you have a Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney, along with an appropriately drafted will or trust, to carry out your intentions. In the case of joint accounts in Maryland, a state law commonly known as the multi-party account statute, controls the distribution of account funds, not your Will.
Taking Care of Your Business When You Cannot
When you are incapacitated and do not have a Comprehensive Durable Power of Attorney you are unable to take care of your finances. In such a situation, a family member must petition the court for guardianship of your property. This is time-consuming and expensive. The Court decides who will be appointed as guardian of your property. It may not be the person or family member whom you would have chosen.
Make Certain Your Power of Attorney is Up to Date
Many people already have a Power of Attorney. Laws change, and so should your Power of Attorney. If you have a Power of Attorney that was created prior to October 1, 2010, you should have us review it to make sure that it is valid, as the statutory requirements of a power of attorney were modified on that date.
Reach Out to Tara Frame Estate and Probate Attorney
For more information about estates and probate, connect with our website, click here Tara Frame Estate Attorney or if you have questions call Tara Frame at 410-255-0373.