In Maryland estate planning, an attorney-in-fact, also known as a power of attorney, is appointed by someone else to act on their behalf if they should become incapacitated. You might need an attorney-in-fact for several reasons, and the person you designate can make decisions regarding your legal, financial, healthcare and other matters when you cannot. For this reason, it’s essential to carefully consider the person you choose to carry out this role for you.
Managing your finances
If you become unable to manage your finances, an appointed attorney-in-fact can manage them and make important financial decisions in your place. If you own a business, your attorney-in-fact can manage your business affairs if you become incapacitated. Additionally, suppose you travel often or plan to be away from home for an extended period. In that case, an attorney-in-fact can manage your finances or the finances of your business if you are unable or unavailable.
Making healthcare decisions
A healthcare attorney-in-fact can ensure that your wishes are honored if you have a terminal illness or become incapacitated because of injury or sickness. They can ensure that your treatment and end-of-life care plans are carried out as intended.
If you suffer from a chronic disease or you are at risk for age-related illness or decline, having a healthcare attorney-in-fact authorizes someone to make important choices when you can’t.
Administering a trust
If your estate planning includes a trust, your attorney-in-fact can make decisions regarding the trust’s administration. Similar to financial or healthcare decisions, you may choose to have someone designated as your attorney-in-fact to manage the trust if you aren’t able to for one reason or another.
A trust might contain significant assets or involve a level of complexity that requires particular expertise. An attorney-in-fact with the necessary knowledge can manage the trust. In some situations, even if you created the trust and can manage it, you may choose instead to have an attorney-in-fact manage it for convenience or other personal reasons.
An attorney-in-fact can provide peace of mind and ensure your wishes regarding your finances, healthcare and other essential decisions are respected.