New Law Regarding Powers of Attorney (November 17th, 2010)

Maryland has acted to resolve problems people encounter when attempting to use Powers of Attorney at banks and other institutions. Although the Power of Attorney was valid, it was often refused. A new Maryland statute should make it easier to use Powers of Attorney as they were intended.

The new statute provides statutory forms that can be used and, if so, must be accepted. In fact, if a bank or other institution refuses to honor a Power of Attorney in the statutory form, it may be liable for attorney’s fees if suit is filed to force acceptance. Another important provision in the new law is that all powers of attorney are now deemed to be “durable,” meaning that the powers will survive the disability or incapacity of the principal unless the document clearly states otherwise.

For the protection of the person giving a Power of Attorney to another, new signing requirements require that the document must be witnessed and notarized in accordance with the statute. The agent must also keep certain records, such as receipts and disbursements.

Any validly executed Powers of Attorney are still enforceable, but use of the statutory form may help ensure that the document in honored as intended. Please contact our office if you are interested in learning more about this issue.