Navigating the Decision: When is the Best Time to Create a Power of Attorney in Maryland?

Yollette Atkinson May 7, 2024

Introduction to Maryland Power of Attorney Law

In the realm of estate planning, one often overlooked but crucial document is the power of attorney (POA).  A power of attorney grants someone else the legal authority to act on your behalf in various matters, from financial decisions to healthcare choices.  While it's a document that nobody likes to think about, understanding when is the best time to create a power of attorney is essential for ensuring your wishes are upheld, especially in the state of Maryland.

Maryland, like other states, has its own set of laws and regulations governing powers of attorney.  Knowing the ins and outs of these regulations can help individuals make informed decisions about when to create this vital document.  In this blog, we'll explore the factors to consider and guide you through determining the best time to create a power of attorney in Maryland. 

Understanding Power of Attorney in Maryland

Before delving into timing considerations, it's crucial to understand the types of power of attorney available in Maryland:

1.        Financial Power of Attorney:  This grants someone (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the authority to manage financial matters on your behalf.  These can include paying bills, managing investments, and handling property transactions. 

2.        Healthcare Power of Attorney:  Also known as a medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy, this document authorizes someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you're unable to do so.  This includes decisions about medical treatments, surgeries, and end-of-life care.

3.        Limited or Specific Power of Attorney:  This grants authority for a specific action or period, such as signing documents related to a real estate transaction while you're out of the country.

With these types in mind, let's explore when it's best to create a power of attorney in Maryland:

Early Adulthood to Middle Age

While it may seem premature to consider powers of attorney in early adulthood or middle age, unforeseen circumstances can arise at any time.  Incapacitation due to illness, injury, or accidents can happen regardless of age.  Therefore, it's wise for individuals in this demographic to consider creating powers of attorney, especially if they have assets or specific healthcare preferences they wish to be upheld.

For young adults just starting their careers, a financial power of attorney can be particularly beneficial.  In the event of incapacitation, having someone trusted to manage financial affairs can prevent financial chaos and ensure bills are paid, investments are managed, and assets are protected.

Additionally, individuals in their middle years may have aging parents whose affairs they may need to manage.  Having a power of attorney in place can facilitate the smooth handling of their parents' financial and healthcare matters should they become unable to do so themselves. 

Advanced Age and Retirement

As individuals enter their senior years, the importance of powers of attorney becomes even more pronounced.  With advancing age comes an increased likelihood of health issues and cognitive decline, making it essential to have plans in place for decision-making in case of incapacity.

Creating powers of attorney early in retirement allows individuals to designate trusted individuals to manage their affairs if they become unable to do so.  This not only provides peace of mind but also ensures that their wishes are carried out according to their preferences.

For seniors who already have powers of attorney in place, it's important to review and update these documents periodically, especially if there have been changes in personal circumstances or relationships.

Diagnosis of Serious Illness

A diagnosis of a serious illness or condition, such as cancer or dementia, often serves as a wake-up call for individuals to address their estate planning needs, including powers of attorney.  When facing a potentially debilitating illness, having powers of attorney in place can relieve some of the stress and uncertainty surrounding decision-making.

In such cases, it's essential to act promptly to create or update powers of attorney while the individual is still deemed competent to do so.  Delaying this process can lead to complications if incapacity occurs before the necessary documents are in place.

Family Dynamics and Relationships

Family dynamics and relationships can also influence the timing of creating powers of attorney.  Individuals with strained family relationships or those who have no close relatives may need to carefully consider whom they appoint as their agents.  In such cases, seeking guidance from trusted legal and financial advisors can help ensure that the chosen agents are capable and trustworthy.

Conversely, individuals with close-knit families may find it easier to designate family members as their agents.  However, it's still essential to have open and honest discussions with potential agents to ensure they understand the responsibilities involved and are willing to accept them. 


Determining the best time to create a power of attorney in Maryland requires careful consideration of various factors, including age, health status, family dynamics, and personal preferences.  While it's never easy to contemplate the possibility of incapacity, planning ahead can provide peace of mind and ensure that your wishes are upheld in times of need.

Whether you're a young adult just starting your career, a retiree enjoying your golden years, or someone facing a serious illness, creating powers of attorney is a crucial step in estate planning.  By understanding the importance of these documents and seeking guidance from legal and financial professionals as needed, you can take control of your future and protect your interests and those of your loved ones.

At Atkinson Law, we listen to all our clients and protect their interests so they can receive a positive legal outcome.  We’ll work with you and give you the best possible recommendation for your future.  To learn more about estate planning and powers of attorney, contact us today by calling (410) 882-9595 or visiting our www.atkinsonlawyers.com.