This should be someone that you implicitly trust to manage your finances and property. In Maryland, these documents are lengthy giving your Agent the same powers and authority that you possess with regards to your assets and personal property. The document can be limited in its scope and duration or it can be broad-based with no time limit.
This authority in Maryland is frequently coupled with living will decisions in a document called an Advance Health Care Directive. A living will allows you to put in writing what your wishes are concerning end-of-life decisions if you are later unable to communicate them. The person you appoint in this document should be questioned as to whether they can honor your instruction.
For example, let’s say you appoint your son as your agent under your Financial Power of Attorney. Your son or daughter is quite astute in business, they are a risk taker but know you’re quite conservative in your financial dealings. Your agent should be willing to manage your financial affairs using your conservative approach, rather than their preferred riskier approach. If your children won’t do that, it’s likely someone else might be a better choice.
Similarly, the person you appoint as Agent under your Health Care Power of Attorney should be willing to abide by and enforce your decisions regarding end-of-life decisions, even if they might make different choices for themselves.
You should pick the person who is best suited for the task. That person may or may not be your oldest child or even your spouse. Once you’ve chosen the right person to act as your Agent, then you can rest easier knowing they will make the right decisions in the event something happens to you.
Mr. Abraham is an experienced attorney and founding member of the Law Firm of Abraham & Bauer. The Towson, MD office of the firm concentrates its practice in Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate, Medical Assistance (Medicaid), Guardianship, Asset Preservation and Fiduciary Representation.
He is an active member in a number of professional organizations that focus on law, the senior community, and estate planning. He works with clients in Central Maryland, especially in Towson, Hunt Valley, Lutherville/Timonium, Parkville, White Marsh, Bel Air & Northern Baltimore City.
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