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Understanding legal instruments for long-term care

On Behalf of | May 31, 2024 | Estate Planning - Long-Term Care Planning

Planning for long-term care can help ensure that you meet your healthcare and financial needs as you get older. In Maryland, it’s helpful to understand that several legal instruments can help you know your options before making a final decision.

Powers of attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to choose someone to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so. There are different types of POA, each serving distinct purposes. A general power of attorney grants broad powers to the agent to handle your finances and legal matters. A durable power of attorney remains in effect even if you become incapacitated, ensuring continuous management of your affairs. Meanwhile, a limited power of attorney grants specific powers for a limited period or purpose, addressing particular needs without broad authority.

Health care directives

Having healthcare directives is crucial to ensure that medical providers follow your treatment preferences. These include advance directives, which combine a living will and a healthcare agent to outline your healthcare preferences and appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. A living will specify the medical treatments you want or don’t want. It’s applied if you’re ill or in a vegetative state. Additionally, a healthcare power of attorney appoints an agent to make healthcare decisions if you’re unable to do so, ensuring your medical care aligns with your wishes.


Trusts are versatile tools in estate planning, offering many benefits for long-term care planning. With a revocable living trust, you can manage your assets during your lifetime and decide how to handle them after your death. In contrast, an irrevocable trust provides asset protection and tax benefits. The assets are no longer part of your estate. A special needs trust ensures that a disabled beneficiary receives care without jeopardizing its eligibility for government benefits, providing long-term financial support.

Planning for peace of mind

Understanding and utilizing these legal instruments is good for effective long-term care planning in Maryland. By preparing these documents, you ensure that you and your loved ones respect your healthcare and financial preferences, providing peace of mind.