Power of Attorney in Maryland: Guide and Requirements

A power of attorney (POA) in Maryland is a legal document giving someone authority to act on behalf of another person. The person who creates the power of attorney is the “principal”; the person granted the power to act on the principal’s behalf is the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.”

What are the requirements to get a POA in Maryland?

For a power of attorney to be valid in Maryland, it needs to meet all these requirements:

  • The principal must be at least 18 years old and fully intend to grant the specified powers to the agent.

  • The principal must be mentally competent, meaning they understand the POA document, the powers it confers and the affected assets.

  • The POA must be in writing.

  • The POA must be signed by the principal (or someone the principal directs to sign on their behalf, in the principal’s presence). 

  • The POA must be signed in the physical or electronic presence (i.e., able to communicate in real time) of at least two adult witnesses.

  • The POA must be notarized (the notary can serve as one of the witnesses).

If the power of attorney is electronic (remotely witnessed), it must also meet some additional requirements:

  • The principal, witnesses and supervising attorney all have to be either physically or electronically present at the time of the signing (the supervising attorney can serve as one of the witnesses).

  • The principal must be a Maryland resident or physically in Maryland when they sign the power of attorney.

  • Witnesses who are present electronically or who sign the POA electronically must be U.S. residents and be physically in the U.S. at the time of signing.

  • The principal and witnesses must sign the same POA.

  • The supervising attorney must create an accurate paper version of the POA that includes all the required signatures. The supervising attorney must also provide a signed paper certification stating that the attorney saw everyone sign the POA and that they took reasonable steps to verify the authenticity of the POA and the signatures.

Types of POAs in Maryland

In Maryland, there are three basic types of power of attorney.

  • Financial (business) power of attorney. This grants another person the authority to take care of financial, business or real estate matters for you, such as making a withdrawal from your bank account to pay your bills or selling property for you.

  • Medical power of attorney. Known as an advance directive in Maryland, a medical power of attorney lets you give another person the legal authority to make decisions about your health care, such as what treatments or medication you receive, what doctors treat you and which facilities will provide your care. This type of POA typically becomes effective if/when you become too ill to make these decisions for yourself.

  • Standby guardianship of children (delegation of parental authority). This power of attorney lets you designate someone to be the guardian of your minor children if you’re unable to care for them yourself — for example, if you become physically or mentally ill, or you face an immigration action.

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Within these basic POA types are a number of subcategories.

  • Durable power of attorney. When a POA is durable, it remains in effect even if the principal becomes incompetent. In Maryland, all powers of attorney are durable by default, unless the document states otherwise.

  • Nondurable power of attorney. If you become incapacitated, this power of attorney is no longer valid. Also, nondurable powers of attorney are typically for certain financial transactions only.

  • General power of attorney. This POA gives the agent broad authority to act on behalf of the principal in all types of business and personal circumstances.

  • Limited power of attorney. With a limited POA, your agent can only perform specific functions under a specific timeframe or under specific conditions.

  • Springing power of attorney. With a springing POA, your agent can only act for you after a specific triggering event occurs, such as if you become incapacitated.

  • Tax power of attorney. This limited POA allows someone to represent you in tax matters and file your taxes. 

  • Real estate power of attorney. This limited POA allows the agent to represent you in real estate matters, which may include buying, selling or managing property.

  • Vehicle power of attorney. This limited POA allows the agent to represent you at the department of motor vehicles.

How to get a POA in Maryland

Here’s what you need to do to create a valid power of attorney in Maryland.

  1. Decide what you’d like your agent to do for you and what type of POA suits your situation. Decide if you would like your POA to be durable or nondurable.

  2. Choose your agent. This should be a person you unconditionally trust.

  3. Sign your POA in the presence of a notary and two witnesses. Your notary can be one of your witnesses if desired.

  4. Store your original document in a safe place where your agent and family can easily access it, and tell these individuals where the document is.

  5. Give your agent a copy of your POA.

  6. Consider giving a copy of your POA to your financial institutions and health care providers.

  7. If your POA involves real estate, file a copy with your circuit court clerk’s office.

Tax implications for a power of attorney in Maryland

If you’d like someone to file your taxes for you or represent you in tax matters, you’ll create a tax power of attorney. You can use IRS POA Form 2848 or Form 8821 when federal taxes are involved; however, Maryland no longer accepts these federal forms for state tax matters. For state taxes, you’ll need to use Maryland POA form 548 and/or 548P.

How much does it cost to get a POA in Maryland?

If you take a DIY approach, you can download free POA forms from the state, leaving the notary fee as your only cost to create a POA. An online service can cost as little as $40. Lawyer fees vary by firm, location and the complexity of your power of attorney, but can cost a few hundred dollars or more.

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