Salisbury Lawyers: Power of Attorney Laws
Maryland General and Limited Power of Attorney Act
New Maryland Law became effective October 1, 2010, which regulates both general and limited powers of attorney.
There are two new optional statutory power of attorney forms,
- Maryland Statutory Form Personal Financial Power of Attorney: With the Personal Financial Power of Attorney, the agent is granted very broad authority to act on behalf of the principal in financial and business matters.
- Maryland Statutory Form Limited Power of Attorney: The Limited Power of Attorney allows the principal to specify which powers are given to the agent.
Added under the new statute is an “Agent’s Certification as to the Validity of Power of Attorney and Agent’s Authority.”
Every power of attorney under the new law must be:
- In writing
- Signed by the principal
- Acknowledged by the principal before a notary, and
- “Attested and signed by two adult witnesses who signed in the presence of the principal and in the presence of each other”
An important change made by the new law is that, with some exceptions, a photocopy or electronically transmitted copy of the original power of attorney will be as valid and binding as the original. The primary exception to this is a filing of the power of attorney with the clerk of the court.
Under the new law, every power of attorney executed in Maryland will still be deemed to be durable unless otherwise provided in the document. In other words, properly executed powers of attorney will survive the disability or incapacity of the principal unless the power of attorney itself states otherwise.
Perhaps the most important provision of the new statute is that it provides that “a person may not require an additional or different form of a power of attorney for any authority granted in a statutory form power of attorney.” The purpose of this provision is to prevent any institution in Maryland from refusing to honor the new form. Any person who refuses to accept an acknowledged statutory form power of attorney is subject to a court order mandating acceptance of the document and also is liable for attorney’s fees and court costs if the court confirms the validity of the power of attorney or mandates its acceptance.
A power of attorney executed in a state other than Maryland will be valid and enforceable in Maryland if the power of attorney complied with the laws of the state in which it was executed when it was executed. A military power of attorney will be valid and enforceable in Maryland if it complies with the requirements for a military power of attorney.
If you have additional questions regarding Maryland general and limited powers of attorney, contact The Law Firm of Shaw & Crowson, P.A., in Salisbury, Maryland. Our law firm has provided estate planning services for nearly 20 years and is equipped to represent the interests of clients under the changing power of attorney law.