June 10, 2010

New Maryland General and Limited Power of Attorney Act

By George E. Meng, Esquire

There has been a serious problem with the lack of consistency when Powers of Attorney are presented to banks and other institutions such as title insurance companies and real estate settlement companies. Not infrequently the agent under a Power of Attorney would be informed that the Power of Attorney was not acceptable. There are also problems with people acting under Powers of Attorney doing inappropriate things, some even to the extent of stealing money.

Maryland has passed a new statute that becomes effective October 1, 2010 that attempts to solve many of these problems.

The new statute includes statutory forms for both General Powers of Attorney and Limited Powers of Attorneys and provides that, if a lawsuit has to be filed to force someone to accept it, there can be a request for reasonable attorney fees.

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April 23, 2009

Natasha Richardson’s Tragic Death Emphasizes the Significance of Estate Plans and Wills

According to a report, Natasha Richardson, 45, was laid to rest at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lithgow, New York on March 22, 2009. Ms. Richardson’s unexpected death resulted from a fall during a beginner skiing lesson. After suffering an epidural hematoma- an accumulation of blood between the brain and skull- the Tony Award-winning actress was taken off life support, a painful decision made by her family. Ms. Richardson was married to actor Liam Neeson and she leaves two children, Micheal, 13, and Daniel, 12.

Given that Natasha Richardson’s family barely had any time to prepare for her death, the emotional pain and loss of such a close family member makes it almost impossible to even think about a will or estate plan; as it is for families throughout the U.S. enduring the abrupt death of a loved one. Not enough of us arrange preparations for our children and our spouse should something catastrophic happen. It is in everyone’s best interest to have an updated estate plan and will to prevent the possibility of lengthy and unnerving legal battles between family members.

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November 28, 2008

I'm an Organ Donor - If My Doctor Finds Out, Will He Work As Hard to Save Me?

If you die without a Will, the law of your State provides for the distribution of your assets. So, it's not necessarily bad if someone dies without a Will. But, if you are alive and cannot give direction about your care to your doctor, things can become complicated and expensive. Often, someone has to go to Court and have a guardian appointed. That's why I urge all of my clients to have an Advance Directive. It's a legal document that combines a living will with a medical power of attorney and often includes directions about organ donation and disposition of your body. Some of the people I see hesitate and procrastinate because of bad information.

One of the common misconceptions is that your doctor won't work as hard if you are an organ donor. This and other myths are addressed on the UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) website. The facts are: "If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ donation can only be considered after brain death has been declared by a physician. Many states have adopted legislation allowing individuals to legally designate their wish to be a donor should brain death occur, although in many states Organ Procurement Organizations also require consent from the donor's family."

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