Power of attorney (POA) gives another party the authority to act on someone’s behalf in private affairs or business or legal matters. A POA is typically used when an individual cannot handle his or her own financial affairs or when they want to prepare for possible incapacity in the future.
The person given the authority to act in a POA is known as the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.” He or she does not have to be an actual attorney. The person who authorizes the “agent” is known as the “principal,” the “donor,” or the “grantor.”
If this sounds complicated, it doesn’t have to be. A probate attorney from Slater & Zurz, a local law firm, can help you establish a POA and help you rest assured you have taken care of the issue of who will act on your behalf if necessary.
A power of attorney can be very general, or it can be limited to specific types of legal matters such as financial or health care power of attorney. In the former case, the agent may have power over investments only. In the latter case, the POA can determine what type of treatment the “grantor” may receive if such an action has been authorized. Thus, a POA can be a compelling legal document.
POA vs. Preparing a Will
Power of attorney is separate from a Will. Having a valid Will does not mean power of attorney issues are decided. Ohio has now adopted the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) which provides for “durable” power of attorney. In effect, all POAs in Ohio are currently “durable powers of attorney.” This means the POA is effective even if the person who created it becomes incapacitated unless they have stated otherwise in the original document.
Forms for power of attorney are easily attainable. You can get them at an office supply store. But you want to make sure they are filled out correctly, so they are valid when needed. An estate planning attorney from Slater & Zurz can help you with anything you don’t understand on the forms. The attorney can also help with other estate documents and tools.
If your POA was created before March 22, 2012, when the new laws about durable POA went into effect, it might be valid, but you may want to have a lawyer review it given the current law. You may also want to use the current statutory Ohio POA form.
For assistance with POAs or other probate matters, call Slater & Zurz at 1-888-534-4850 and ask for a probate attorney or visit their website, slaterzurz.com, and “chat” with a 24/7/365 representative. While on the site, you can use the Free Case Form to explain your needs for an attorney and when you are available to be contacted. An initial consultation is free.
Slater & Zurz offers power of attorney in our Akron, Canton, and Cleveland offices.