Isn’t it saddening to see families in squabbles over the treatment or the finances of a family member because no one seems to know what the wishes of the incapacitated person? You wouldn’t want that happening to you, would you?
Well, you can escape that situation by making preparing a document that outlines your wishes. Make the document legal by signing and notarizing it. So, which document is that? Well, we are referring to a power of attorney.
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal instrument you use to authorize another person to make decisions on your behalf. For this to happen, you have to appoint an agent (attorney-in-fact), often someone you trust to handle matters and to make the big decisions when you are unable to handle them or when incapacitated. To kickstart the process, you have to find a free Maryland power of attorney form online. Note that the form and the signed POA will refer to you as the principal.
Now that you have a general idea of what you need let’s look at the specifics. Which are the main types of powers of attorney and which one do you need?
1. The Maryland Durable Power of Attorney Laws
When incapacitated and hooked to a respirator, your family is the go-to decision-making point. But, your parents, siblings, spouse, or children may not know your wishes. To ensure that the doctors act according to your wishes, you need a durable power of attorney, DPOA or the healthcare POA.
The DPOA is the letter that gives your trustee to make decisions about your health on your behalf, even if your wishes are against those of your family. The free power of attorney form in Maryland and the legal document falls under the Code Section Health-Gen. 5-601 et seq. which contains the Health Care Decisions Act.
Note that the DPOA is a springing power of attorney since the document is only executable upon the incapacitation of the principal and not immediately after signing and notarization of the document as is the case with the non-springing powers of attorney.
The directives of the principal are applicable in the state of Maryland if the directives prepared in a different state comply with the laws of Maryland.
What are the specific life-prolonging powers and acts?
The appointed agent will act under the directives of the principal and as per the springing circumstances. The agent will decide whether or not to withhold the principal’s life-support procedures depending wholly or in part on the principals long-term physical or mental disability, as well their economic disadvantage. However, the powers of the agent are limited, and they cannot consent or refuse to give consent for sterilization or the treatment of a mental disorder.
What are the legal requirements for the execution of the DPOA?
This letter of authorization is only executable if prepared and processed voluntarily, if it’s in writing, dated, and signed by the principal.
2 witnesses must subscribe to the document
This letter of authority is only executable when the attending physician and a second physician put in writing that the principal isn’t at a position to make an informed decision on matters regarding their health. This should happen after a physical examination performed in a span of 2 hours following certification. However, in the state of Maryland, it follows that a second physician isn’t necessary for an unconscious patient.
The details of the POA must be communicated to the physician who will include it in the medical records.
What are the conditions for revocation of the DPOA?
A signed and dated notice of revocation
An oral statement from the principal to the attending physician
The execution of a subsequent directive.
Note: an unwilling attending physician should make an effort to transfer the patient to different health care if complying with the directives may most likely result in the death.
On the other hand, an attending physician acting in good faith will not be civilly, criminally, or professionally liable.
2. Maryland Limited Power Of Attorney Law
This document lets you grant your agent limited powers. The attorney-in-fact cannot go beyond the scope of the authority given and, they only act when the principal is unavailable or incapacitated.
Unless the principal issues a revocation notice, the powers given to the agent are irrevocable.
That means that to revoke the powers, the principal must send a revocation notice to the agent and all third parties acting as per the directives of the agent.
3. Maryland POA For Bank Account Matters Law
This is a special letter of authority. It grants an agent specific powers. The powers are to be acted upon only when the principal is unavailable. The principal can revoke the powers given to the agent by issuing a written revocation notice. Otherwise, the powers remain active.
If you are convinced that you need to put in writing the fact that you trust your spouse or your eldest child with the big decisions, you should get our free online power of attorney form available to everyone in Baltimore, Columbia, Germantown, Silver Spring, Waldorf, Ellicott City, Glen Burnie, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Rockville or any other city of Maryland.