The attorneys at Azrael Franz recommend that you always keep your General Power of Attorney and other estate planning documents current and up to date. However, we have recently been advised of a specific issue individuals are facing with their current Maryland General Power of Attorney (GPOA) that could lead to problems if not addressed.
A Power of Attorney authorizes another person (your agent) to make decisions concerning your property for you (the principal). The current statutory form of Maryland’s GPOA does not include a provision giving your agent the authority to buy, sell, receive, give or accept tangible personal property. Since Maryland GPOAs are strictly interpreted, this means that your agent may not have the authorization to make decisions regarding your personal property, specifically your vehicle, unless a special provision is added to the statutory form. Thus, your agent would not have the ability to buy or sell your vehicle using your current GPOA.
To address this issue, organizations like the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration have specific forms, separate from and in addition to a GPOA, which the principal and agent must also execute. However, as an alternative, you can simply update your GPOA to include a provision specifically addressing tangible personal property and automobiles.
In addition to the above-mentioned issue, it is always a good idea to keep your estate planning documents current. While these documents generally do not expire, it is crucial to update contact information of your named agents and representatives.