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The Two Types of Power of Attorney (POA) Documents 

Our lives are unpredictable, and they can change at any time. If you were to fall ill or become incapacitated in any way, you would want a trusted individual to handle your affairs. This is where power of attorney documents come into play. POA documents provide the legal authority to make financial and health-related decisions for a person in the event that they are no longer able to do so. Decisions can involve the sale of a home, the application of benefits like Medicare, and the type of healthcare an individual receives.

POA documents are either general or limited. A general POA allows the attorney-in-fact to make all business and personal decisions for the principal. With a limited POA, the only decisions that can be made are ones specifically outlined in the POA document.

It’s important to note that POA documents don’t give anyone complete authority over another individual’s autonomy. In most cases, an attorney-in-fact cannot change a principal’s will, appoint a new POA, or make decisions after the principal’s death. Wills and power of attorney documents can work together, however, if you want certain property and assets divided after your death.

What Are the Two Types of Power of Attorney (POA) Documents?

While POAs can be general or limited, the two main types of power of attorneys are medical and financial.


A medical power of attorney makes healthcare decisions for the principal. A person's care may include home health care, nursing home care, psychiatric care or rehabilitation services. Medical POAs are also able to make decisions regarding care providers, surgeries, diets, and hygiene routines.

In order to become a medical POA, an individual must complete the Maryland Advance Form. In Maryland, medical POAs and living wills are created together to form advance directives.


Financial power of attorneys can make business decisions on another individual’s behalf. Typically, this includes filing taxes, handling debts, accessing the principal’s assets, and managing their property.

A Maryland Power of Attorney Form must be submitted to become a financial attorney-in-fact. These are invalidated after the principal dies, so it’s important to write up a will with a POA if you want someone to make financial decisions after your death.


What Else Should You Know about Power of Attorney (POA) Documents?

  • Most power of attorney documents take effect right away. However, some can explicitly state that authority is not to be given until a certain time in the future.

  • A principal needs to be in a rational state of mind when the POA document is drafted.

  • Two individuals must bear witness to the signing of POA documents before it can go into effect.

  • A notary public must validate the final POA document.

  • Powers of attorneys can expire after death if no attorney-in-fact has been appointed, if the principal terminates the agreement, or if fraud occurs.


Let Atkinson Law Take Care of You Like Family

When it comes to power of attorney documents, we’re experts. At Atkinson Law, we also treat our clients like family. To learn more about becoming an attorney-in-fact or creating a will, contact us today by calling (410) 882-9595 or visiting our website