Power of attorney is a useful instrument to let others make decisions on someone else’s behalf. This is useful in many circumstances, such as if you are traveling internationally but have business or financial affairs that need tending while you’re gone.

It’s also useful if you want to let another person make financial decisions on your behalf due to your age, illness, or mental capacity. Powers of attorney can be designed to fit many different situations.

But what happens if you were granted power of attorney for a loved one and they pass away? This will impact the authority you once had to access their financial accounts and property. It’s important to understand the various types of power of attorney, as well as when that power ends.

What Is Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney gives another person the legal right to execute certain decisions or actions on your behalf. 

In a power of attorney agreement, the person giving power of attorney to another is called the “principal,” and the person receiving the power of attorney is called the “agent.” That is, they will act as the agent of the principal.

Are There Different Types of Power of Attorney?

Yes. In Maryland, there are multiple types of power of attorney. You should execute a power of attorney agreement that fits your needs and wishes.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney may grant another person authority to make decisions on behalf of the principal. This includes the authority to deposit or withdraw money from a bank account, sell property, pay bills, or access other accounts. 

It may also include the power to make healthcare-related decisions. General power of attorney will expire when the principal dies or becomes incapacitated. 

Limited Power of Attorney

Limited power of attorney restricts the agent’s authority to certain tasks within a limited time. For example, if you are traveling out of the country, you may assign limited power of attorney to execute a property sale or withdraw money on your behalf to pay your bills.

Durable Power of Attorney

Durable power of attorney does not end when the principal becomes incapacitated. A durable power of agreement may have general or limited powers, but it will continue if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. 

A common use of a durable power of attorney is an elderly parent granting durable power of attorney to a child who will care for them in old age.

What Is an Advanced Directive?

An advanced directive is sometimes called a “medical power of attorney.” This allows someone else to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated, including end-of-life decisions. Advanced directives are often executed along with wills or other estate-planning documents.

The person you grant this authority to becomes your “proxy” if you are incapacitated. Your proxy may be able to speak with medical care and insurance providers in addition to making decisions regarding medical procedures and long-term care. You can specify your end-of-life decisions or let your proxy make those decisions.

Typically, your doctor must certify, in writing, that you are incapacitated before the advanced directive goes into effect.

What Happens to a Power of Attorney After a Loved One Passes Away?

In Maryland, power of attorney will automatically terminate when you die. Therefore, if your loved one granted you power of attorney, that authority will end when they die.

To decide how property will be distributed after one dies, you should execute a will or trust. If your loved one has such a document, it will dictate how their property is distributed after their death

Consider setting up a consultation with an attorney for legal advice and help in this circumstance. That way, you can rest assured knowing that your rights and interests will be maintained effectively.

Contact the Baltimore Wrongful Death Lawyer Law Firm of WGK Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help

For more information contact the Baltimore wrongful death law firm of WGK Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation.

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(410) 837-2144

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