The Maryland durable power of attorney (DPOA) is a legal document that enables one person, called the principal, to appoint another person, called the agent or the attorney-in-fact, to represent them before financial, legal, medical, and other institutions and third parties.
The term “durable” means that the power of attorney will remain valid and effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated.
The principal can use the Maryland durable power of attorney in any situation where they are not able to personally complete a certain action or make a certain decision. This might be because the principal is in poor physical or mental health, has dementia or Alzheimer's disease, or just doesn't have the expertise to handle a particular situation.
Durable Power of Attorney Laws & Requirements in Maryland
Laws & Requirements
Signing requirements: The principal or another person in the principal’s conscious presence must sign the Maryland durable power of attorney. The signature must be acknowledged by at least two witnesses and a notary public.
Statutory form: The Maryland code, § 17–202 provides the statutory form for the power of attorney.
“Durable” definition: According to § 17-105(a) it is a power of attorney by which a principal designates another as an attorney-in-fact or agent, and the authority is exercisable notwithstanding the principal’s subsequent disability or incapacity.
How to Fill out a Durable Power of Attorney in Maryland
#1. Designate an Agent
Firstly, you should determine the person you want to authorize to act on your behalf and represent your interests.
Firstly, you should look for a person who is of legal age and has the capacity to represent you. Secondly, you should choose a person who you trust, especially if you are planning to authorize them to make decisions regarding your healthcare and finances.
In some cases, for tax, financial, and legal matters, you choose the person who has background knowledge in these fields.
In this section, you can also name the successor agent. This agent will represent you in case the primary agent becomes incapacitated or is otherwise unable to act.
#2. Grant Authority
After determining the agent, you should define their scope of authority.
There are three main ways in which you can determine the agent’s scope of authority:
Scope of Authority
General authority. Here, you will enable the agent to represent you before any third party and take all the necessary steps. The agent will have all the powers you, as a principal, have.
Partial authority. With this method, you select the authorities you want your agent to have from the list of authorities provided in the durable power of attorney form. You can select the authority by signing your initials next to the one you want your agent to have.
Specific authority. This option gives you the most flexibility since you can define the scope of authority in your own words by writing what authority the agent can have. In this way, you can include the authorities that are not provided in the partial authority section.
#3. Ensure the Form is Durable
Every power of attorney in Maryland is presumed to be durable, meaning that if you want your power of attorney to be non-durable, you must explicitly state so in the document.
#4. Sign the Form
In Maryland, the principal or another person must sign the durable power of attorney in the principal's conscious presence. Additionally, there must be at least two witnesses who acknowledge the document.
#5. Notarize the Form
The durable power of attorney must be acknowledged by the notary public or another person authorized to acknowledge such documents.
#6. Store Your Durable Power of Attorney Form
Finally, you should keep the finalized durable power of attorney in your possession and store it in a safe place.
You can give one copy to the agent, so they can prove their capacity to any third party they are interacting with on your behalf.
How to Revoke a Durable Power of Attorney in Maryland
The best way to revoke a durable power of attorney is to issue a revocation letter. The letter should include the full name and mailing address of the agent and the date of issuing the power of attorney.
To make the revocation effective, send a copy of the revocation letter to the agent and every third party they are interacting with on your behalf.