April 2023.

Comment: “This long power of attorney form doesn’t apply to me. I just have a bank account and a car!”
In Maryland, estate planning powers of attorney are long. They have to be! That’s because your power of attorney only gives your “agent” – the person acting for you – the powers you have specifically listed. The power of attorney that simply states that “my agent may do anything I could do” doesn’t work. Put differently, if you don’t specifically enumerate, you don’t effectively delegate.
And a power of attorney isn’t just about writing checks and paying bills. It’s about selling your car or your home if you’ve had to move; terminating your cable or satellite contract; getting information about your financial matters and ordering your affairs. So, even if your daughter is a signer or joint owner on your bank account, that won’t let her tell the satellite company that you don’t need their services anymore because Comcast is cheaper and is now providing service to your home (true story). And it won’t let her change the beneficiary of your IRA when your spouse dies and we find out that he was the only listed beneficiary on your IRA (another true story, which led to the IRA paying out into the surviving spouse’s estate, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars in income tax).
A power of attorney is a powerful protection if drafted and used correctly. Don’t be caught powerless!


Attorney Tim Barkley
The Tim Barkley Law Offices
One Park Avenue
P.O. Box 1136
Mount Airy
Maryland 21771

 (301) 829-3778

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