POWERS OF ATTORNEY operate while you are alive. A general power of attorney grants power to your designee to sign your name to all of your documents while you are living, whether you are competent or incompetent. If you are in a coma or at the South Pole, the General Power of Attorney allows your designated attorney in fact to sell your property and cash your checks and pay your bills. It is lengthy so that all private and public financial bureaucracies will accept it without administrative headaches. Even though it covers all of your property, conservative lawyers and title companies will still usually require a specific power of attorney for a specific house for a specific transaction when you are trying to refinance or sell or purchase real estate. This is because the specific power has to be recorded in the land records with the deed or mortgage. Also, many investment houses will want their own special forms used as well. We recommend the use of the general durable power of attorney form, which should cover most general matters. If any specific matter requires something more specific in the future, that will have to be dealt with as it arises. Accordingly, if you have a current relationship with a brokerage company, make sure they review your general durable power of attorney now, so if they require something different you can take care of it now rather than later after an emergency has arisen.
ADVANCED DIRECTIVE and DESIGNATION OF HEALTH CARE AGENT. These are for medical decisions. We recommend that you read and execute the State of Maryland ADVANCED DIRECTIVES forms, as these have been adopted for uniform acceptance by all hospitals and health care providers.
SIMPLE WILLS. A standard Simple Will is about 7 pages long, and typically leaves your household belongings to your spouse if living and your children. Typically your entire residuary estate would be left to your spouse first if living, and then to your children in equal shares. If any of your children are under the age of 25 there can be a Trust provision to hold their shares until they reach 25. SPECIFIC BEQUESTS. Usually, more often than not, spouses with children don’t make specific bequests. Rather, everything is left all to your spouse if living and then to your children. If you have specific bequests, you must state so specifically in the standard will. Specific bequests can also be added later by a short specific Codicil.
Powers of Attorney must be notarized in proper form. Wills must be correctly executed with at least two witnesses and should be kept in a safe place. There is specific and necessary language for legal and proper Wills and an attorney should be consulted to make sure that your Will has been executed properly.