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What Is A Power of Attorney?

It’s hard to know what tomorrow might bring. Even so, you can plan for whatever arises in the future with powers of attorney. Powers of attorney allow you to name someone to act on your behalf if you become physically or mentally incapacitated.


With these documents in place, your designated person or people can step in and make decisions for you related to healthcare and medical expenses as well as financial and business matters.

When Should I Contact a Powers of Attorney Lawyer?

It’s never too early to create these documents. Contact our Ohio powers of attorney lawyer today to get started.

General and Healthcare Powers of Attorney

Types of Powers of Attorney

Many Ohio residents incorporate both general and healthcare powers of attorney into their comprehensive estate plans. Under Ohio law, these two powers of attorney are considered durable, which signifies their continued effect after you have become mentally incapacitated.

General Powers of Attorney

The powers of attorney lawyer in Ohio plays a pivotal role in drafting these legal documents, ensuring they comply with the current Ohio law and meet the specific needs of the client. A general power of attorney, also known as a financial power of attorney, grants legal authority to an appointed individual, referred to as an attorney-in-fact or agent.


The agent’s authority, as outlined in the power of attorney document, typically encompasses a broad range of financial and business matters. The attorney-in-fact can manage bank accounts, engage with financial institutions, transfer real estate, and handle just about any matter involving the principal’s financial affairs.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney, also known as a medical POA, is a separate legal document that grants the attorney-in-fact the authority to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal.


This includes decisions about medical treatment, end-of-life care, and medical expenses. However, the agent’s power to make healthcare decisions only comes into effect when the principal is deemed mentally incapacitated and unable to make sound decisions regarding their health.


Moreover, an Ohio power of attorney can include provisions for a successor agent, who can step in if the original agent is unable or unwilling to act. The document can be tailored with special instructions and limitations to the agent’s broad powers, safeguarding the principal’s best interests.

Limited Power of Attorney

If a specific task or transaction requires you to delegate authority to another individual, Ohio law allows for the creation of a limited power of attorney. This legal document provides your chosen representative, also known as an attorney-in-fact or POA agent, with the legal authority to act solely within the confines of the instructions specified in the document.


For instance, you might utilize this document to empower someone to carry out a single real estate transaction on your behalf. The agent’s authority, however, does not extend beyond the scope explicitly defined in the POA document. This means the agent cannot take actions or make decisions that are not specified in the power of attorney.


In addition to accurately recording the agent’s powers and responsibilities, the document may include special instructions and stipulations to protect your best interests. It’s important to remember that a limited power of attorney is only effective for the specific tasks and time frame stated, and the agent is legally bound to act in your best interests within the defined scope.

Reasons to Include Powers of Attorney in Your Estate Plan

Powers of attorney are vital components of your estate plan. With powers of attorney, you will:
  • Avoid guardianship
  • Designate a trusted person to manage your affairs
  • Ensure the fulfillment of your financial and medical needs
  • Have a plan in place for your loved ones

Is Your Current Power of Attorney Powerful Enough? Is it even Valid?

Powers of Attorney are not all the same. In Ohio, the Statutory or State Provided Power of Attorney document is rather limited in its designation of authority to your agent. If you only need your Agent to do limited things on your behalf or you don’t fully trust the person you are naming, this might be a good option for you.


However, if you want your agent to be able to truly step into your shoes and do all of the same things that you are able to do, then the Statutory Power of Attorney is going to fall far short of that. Most individuals will likely need direction on what powers should be included in this document to meet their needs and those of their loved ones if they become incapacitated.


Ohio’s Uniform Power of Attorney Act was enacted in March 2012. If you created a power of attorney before that date, it might not be legally binding. At the very least, it might not be current for your needs now, more than a decade later.


Thus, have your Ohio powers of attorney lawyer review it to ensure it meets the legal standards and your wishes for the future. Your attorney can draft a new document for you if it does not.

Choosing an Agent for Your Power of Attorney

When finding someone to fill the role of agent for your power of attorney, look for important attributes. First, it is important to select an agent who will not be inclined to abuse this privilege. They will need to be able to understand their responsibilities in this role and make important decisions in collaboration with other parties involved.


This person should generally be someone in close proximity to you who is capable of attending to details, handling stressful situations, and following through. It is often wise to designate one or two backup agents in case your first choice will not be available to fulfill these duties. Discuss your candidates with your powers of attorney lawyer.

Powers of Attorney and Your Estate Plan

Ohio law forbids your agent from taking any actions to harm your estate plan once you have it in place. One of the main purposes of preparing an estate plan is to avoid confusion, miscommunication, or unexpected situations that raise questions regarding your assets and your intentions.


Ensure that everyone is on the same page by having your powers of attorney lawyer create your estate plan. Then, the attorney can review it with your agent if you wish. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to take the first steps.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A Power of Attorney (POA), as defined under Ohio law, is a legal document that confers legal authority to an appointed individual, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact. This authority empowers the agent to act on behalf of the person executing the POA, commonly referred to as the principal.


In the context of estate planning, a POA serves as a crucial tool that allows for the designation of a trusted individual to oversee vital matters. These matters can extend across a broad spectrum, encompassing financial and business matters, healthcare decisions, and even interactions with financial institutions.


The agent’s authority, as laid out in the POA document, can range from managing bank accounts and transferring real estate to making critical healthcare decisions, such as end-of-life care and medical treatment. The scope of this authority is typically defined by the principal’s needs and the current Ohio law.


An essential aspect of a POA under Ohio law is its potential durability. A durable POA, whether it be a durable financial POA or a healthcare POA, maintains its validity even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. This durability ensures that the agent can continue to make financial decisions or healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal without the need for court intervention.


However, creating a POA requires the principal to be a mentally competent adult capable of understanding the implications of their actions. It’s important to note that under Ohio law, the POA automatically ends if the principal passes away or if a court invalidates it.


In the hands of a knowledgeable powers of attorney lawyer in Ohio, a POA can be drafted with specific instructions and stipulations tailored to the principal’s best interests. The attorney can ensure the POA complies with the legal requirements set forth in the Ohio revised code and can provide vital legal information to the principal.

A General Power of Attorney grants broad powers to the agent, allowing them to handle various financial and legal matters on behalf of the principal. This includes managing bank accounts, real estate transactions, and legal proceedings. Unlike limited POAs, general POAs are comprehensive and do not have specific restrictions.
While a General Power of Attorney focuses on financial and legal matters, a Healthcare Power of Attorney is specific to healthcare decisions. It grants the agent the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal if they are unable to do so. This ensures that the principal’s medical preferences are honored, even if they cannot communicate them.
A Limited Power of Attorney restricts the agent’s authority to specific tasks or transactions. This could include managing a particular property, handling a business matter, selling a car, or any other limited scope defined in the document. Limited POAs are useful when the principal only wants to delegate authority for a specific purpose.
Having a Power of Attorney in place provides peace of mind and ensures that someone trusted by the principal can manage their affairs if they become incapacitated. This can help avoid the need for court-appointed guardianship, streamline decision-making, and protect the individual’s interests according to their wishes.
Consulting with an attorney, especially one specifically focused on elder law and estate planning like Jarvis Law Office, ensures that the POA is drafted correctly and complies with Ohio’s legal requirements. An attorney can help customize the document based on the individual’s unique circumstances, minimizing the risk of misunderstandings or legal challenges.
Yes, a well-crafted Power of Attorney can be a valuable tool in Medicaid planning and asset protection. It allows the agent to manage financial matters, making it possible to engage in strategic planning to qualify for Medicaid benefits while protecting assets. The knowledgeable Power of Attorney lawyers at Jarvis Law can assist in creating a comprehensive plan tailored to the client’s needs.

Please note that the information provided here is general in nature and should not be considered legal advice. It is recommended to consult with an attorney from Jarvis Law Office to obtain personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.

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