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 incapacitated. With these documents in place, your designated person or people can step in and make decisions for you.
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 people include general and healthcare powers of attorney in their estate plans. Both are durable powers of attorney, meaning they remain in effect after you become incapacitated.
General Powers of Attorney
A general power of attorney designates someone to make financial decisions for you. If you become incapacitated, or if you want to have another person assist you in taking action or making decisions, the person you designate as your agent can open financial accounts, enter contracts, and more. However, the agent must always act in your best interest.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
A healthcare power of attorney allows you to designate a person to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are not able to do so for yourself at some point in the future. Your Ohio powers of attorney lawyer might recommend that you include a living will, if that matches your preferences, when drafting this document. That way, you can outline the type of end-of-life care you want to receive.
Limited Power of Attorney
If you need someone to act on your behalf regarding a specific matter, you can create a limited power of attorney. The agent can only act in ways that are outlined in the document. For instance, you might create this document to allow someone to complete one real estate transaction for you. The agent cannot do anything outside of the document’s scope.
Your Ohio powers of attorney lawyer can explain if this document is right for you. If you do need it, your attorney can draft it for you.
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
There are important attributes to look for when finding someone to fill the role of the agent for your power of attorney. First, it is important to select an agent that 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 and 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.