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.
The signing requirements for Powers of Attorney used to be somewhat lax. Now they are even stricter than the signing requirements for a Last Will and Testament. Not only must a document be notarized but the witnesses and the person signing the Power of Attorney must all be present at the same time.
There is also detailed requirements for what the person acting as the Power of Attorney has to do or not do. Most important is that the person must keep a record of receipts, disbursements and transactions under the Power of Attorney.
This new law is a welcome addition to the Maryland Code and has been long overdue.
To read more on the New Maryland General and Limited Power of Attorney Act visit:
- Chapter 689: http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/chapters_noln/Ch_689_hb0659E.pdf and
- Chapter 690: http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/chapters_noln/Ch_690_sb0309E.pdf.