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What Is A Power of Attorney?

Predicting the future is a challenge, but you can prepare for unforeseen circumstances with powers of attorney. These legal instruments enable you to appoint an individual to manage your affairs should you be unable to do so due to incapacitation.

Your appointed agent will have the authority to handle your healthcare needs and manage your finances and business dealings.

When Should I Contact a Powers of Attorney Lawyer?

Don’t wait to set up your power of attorney. Contact our Columbus-based power of attorney lawyer now to begin the process.

General and Healthcare Powers of Attorney

Types of Powers of Attorney

In Columbus, a significant number of residents include in their thorough estate planning both the general power of attorney and the healthcare power of attorney. These legal instruments are recognized as durable under Ohio’s statutes, ensuring they remain in force even if one loses mental capacity.

General Powers of Attorney

A Columbus-based attorney, with a focus on powers of attorney, plays a crucial role in the preparation of these legal forms, ensuring they are in line with the current laws of Ohio and address the particular requirements of the client. A general power of attorney, also known as a financial power of attorney, grants legal powers to a nominated party, referred to as an attorney-in-fact or agent.


The agent’s powers, as detailed in the power of attorney document, typically cover a wide range of financial and business operations. The attorney-in-fact can handle bank interactions, work with financial institutions, arrange property transactions, and manage virtually any issue related to the principal’s financial life.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney, also referred to as a medical POA, is a distinct legal instrument that authorizes the attorney-in-fact to make healthcare-related decisions for the principal.


This encompasses choices about medical care, end-of-life treatment, and healthcare-related expenses. The agent’s authority in healthcare matters is activated only when the principal is considered mentally incapacitated and unable to make informed healthcare decisions.


Additionally, a power of attorney can contain clauses for an alternate agent to take over if the first agent cannot or will not serve. The document can be customized with specific directives and restrictions on the agent’s extensive authority, ensuring the principal’s interests are protected.

Limited Power of Attorney

Should you need to assign authority to someone else for a particular duty or transaction, the laws of Columbus, Ohio, permit the drafting of a limited power of attorney. This document designates your selected representative, also referred to as an attorney-in-fact or POA agent, to act with legal authority strictly within the parameters set out in the document.


For example, you may use this document to authorize someone to manage a unique real estate deal in your name. The agent’s authority is confined to what is clearly outlined in the POA document, which means they are not allowed to undertake actions or decisions outside of those detailed in the power of attorney.


The document can also detail specific directives and conditions to ensure your interests are safeguarded. It is important to note that a limited power of attorney is valid only for the distinct tasks and duration indicated, with the agent being legally obligated to represent your interests within the established boundaries.

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 vary significantly. In Columbus, Ohio, the statutory or state-provided power of attorney form grants a relatively confined range of powers to your agent. If your requirements for the agent’s role are minimal or if your confidence in the appointee isn’t absolute, this version may suit your situation.


Yet, if you expect your agent to fully assume your responsibilities and manage all the obligations for which you’re typically responsible, the statutory power of attorney won’t be adequate. Most people will require guidance on which powers to include in the document to ensure it aligns with their circumstances and those of their family in the event of incapacity.


The Uniform Power of Attorney Act of Ohio has been in effect since March 2012. If your power of attorney was established before that, its enforceability could be in question. At the least, it may no longer reflect your current needs, especially after over ten years have passed.


Therefore, it’s advisable to have an experienced power of attorney lawyer with Jarvis Law Office review your existing power of attorney to verify its compliance with legal norms and your current preferences for the future. If necessary, your attorney can create a new document for you.

Choosing an Agent for Your Power of Attorney

In choosing an agent for your power of attorney, certain qualities are essential. Opt for an individual who is unlikely to misuse the granted powers and who comprehends their obligations within this role, including the ability to make key decisions cooperatively with other involved entities.


Ideally, this individual is someone close to you who is detail-oriented, can manage pressure well, and is committed to seeing tasks through to completion. It’s advisable to consider nominating one or two alternate agents should your primary agent be unable to perform these tasks. Have a conversation about potential agents with your attorney, who handles powers of attorney.

Powers of Attorney and Your Estate Plan

Ohio legislation prohibits your agent from engaging in any activities that would negatively impact your established estate plan. Crafting an estate plan is primarily aimed at preventing uncertainty, misinterpretations, or unforeseen circumstances that could create doubts about your assets and your wishes.


Ensure that everyone is on the same page by having your Columbus 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 Columbus power of attorney lawyer, 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 Columbus, 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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