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Colleen Sinclair Prosser, Attorney
Trustee, Executor, Power Of Attorney Who You Choose Can Make a Difference
SinclairProsser Law, LLC
. http://www.sinclairprosserlaw.com

Trustee, Executor, Power Of Attorney Who You Choose Can Make a Difference

It can be difficult to contemplate one's own mortality. As a result, some people procrastinate in planning for what we all know will come in the fullness of time. Of course, those that plan will make for an easier time for family and friends.
When you plan, you choose people to make decisions for you, such as agents, guardians, executors, or trustees. Often, people do not give much thought to these decisions, just naming their oldest child or whoever pops into their mind. The choices for these roles are perhaps the most important decisions to make. Good choices can help to ensure your wishes are carried out while bad choices can create turmoil and waste assets.
In a general durable power of attorney, you appoint someone to make decisions for property. For example, your “agent” could file income tax returns for you, change beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement plans, etc. The powers granted can be limitless, depending on the comfort of the grantor. Many institutions, however, are skeptical of accepting property powers of attorney. They may require it be specific only for the purpose for which it is being used, such as purchasing a home, in which case they may want terms of the contract detailed in the document itself.
In a health care power of attorney, you appoint someone to make medical decisions for you in the event you can no longer do so for yourself. A Living Will can be used to express wishes you have regarding life-prolonging measures. Organ donation and specific religious preferences, such as a blood transfusion, can be outlined in this document.
Federal laws and regulations have created privacy protections for your medical information. These laws are known as “HIPAA” (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Now physicians, hospitals, health insurers, and other “covered entities” must comply with strict rules or face fines and potential criminal penalties. An innocent mistake would incur a fine of $100. More serious breaches of privacy, such as releasing information for malicious harm, could result in fines of up to $250,000 and 10 years in prison. Understandably, health care providers are being extremely careful about the release of medical information in the face of such penalties. For this reason, it is important that you execute a Medical Authorization listing those you wish to have access to your medical records.
To prevent your family from having to endure a court case and to make any incapacity on your part a little easier for them, you should make sure that you have a Property Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney. These documents should be prepared by an attorney. It is not something that you should trust the internet to guide you. Most states have specific language that should be included. Maryland is a very specific state. A power of attorney is not a costly document to obtain from an attorney. Do your family and loved ones a huge favor and have these documents in place if needed.

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