On October 1, 2010, Maryland’s new General and Limited Power of Attorney Act (House Bill 659) became effective.
This Act provides two statutory Power of Attorney (“POA”) forms and a Certification form for an Agent to verify facts concerning a POA. One of the POA forms (the “Maryland Statutory Form Personal Financial Power of Attorney”) provides an Agent with general authority as specified on the form, while the other POA form (the “Maryland Statutory Form Limited Power of Attorney”) provides for more limitations on the Agent’s authority and more specificity as to the powers being given to an Agent.
A great advantage of this new law is that individuals and entities, including banks, brokerage firms, title and insurance companies, who are presented with a POA, which has been drafted and acknowledged in conformity with this new law, MUST accept it. If an individual or entity refuses to accept such a POA, the Agent presenting the POA may petition the Court to order that the POA be accepted and, in some instances, to have the individual or entity pay the Agent’s reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in a proceeding to mandate acceptance of a POA.
Another change brought about by the new POA Act is that the requirements for signing and witnessing a POA are stricter. In order for a POA executed on or after October 1, 2010 to be valid, it must be acknowledged before a notary public and attested to by two or more adult witnesses. Under the new law, it is permissible for the notary public to serve as one of the adult witnesses.
As a result of this new law’s provisions and requirements, your existing POA may be affected. If you or someone you know is thinking about executing a POA, it is important to speak to an attorney familiar with this new law and all of the requirements under the Maryland Code before signing any such documents.
Please contact Andalman & Flynn, P.C. at (301) 563-6685 if you would like to set up a consultation to discuss any issues concerning Powers of Attorney, Wills, Health Care Advance Directives (aka: “Living Wills”), probate, estate planning or estate administration.