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It is extremely difficult for many people to consider the possibility that a day may come when they are no longer able to make responsible decisions for themselves. Life, however, can be rather unpredictable, and the unexpected can occur without warning. A sudden accident, physical illness, or mental condition could leave you incapacitated, placing the possessions you have acquired throughout your life at risk. At Erb Legal LLC, our experienced attorneys understand that estate planning is not only important for determining what will happen to your property after your death but also for protecting your estate and you as a person while you are living.
Wills and trusts are useful tools for specifying your wishes regarding your assets in the future. In your will, you have the ability to name an executor who will be responsible for administering your estate upon your death. But, what happens if you become unable to manage your own affairs while you are still alive? Ohio law allows you to select a person or persons to make decisions on your behalf in the event you are no longer able to make them for yourself. This authority is known as “power of attorney.” Powers of attorney can be utilized to address decision-making for different areas of your life, depending on your unique circumstances.
A durable general power of attorney—sometimes called a financial power of attorney or power of attorney for property—gives another person the authority to act on your behalf in any day-to-day matters. The person you select to make such decisions is called an attorney in fact or agent, and he or she is responsible for acting in your best interests at all times. The agent’s authority to make decisions can begin as soon as the document is signed, or it can be delayed until you are unable to manage your own affairs. A durable power of attorney can be revoked at any time, and the agent’s authority automatically terminates upon your death. We will work with you in creating the terms of your power of attorney and selecting the right person to serve as your attorney in fact.
A health care power of attorney is similar to a durable general power of attorney in that it gives another person the authority to make decisions on your behalf, but there are some important differences. As the name implies, a health care power of attorney is limited to decisions related to health and medical care. In addition, a health care power of attorney will not go into effect until you become incapacitated and unable to make health care decisions on your own.
At Erb Legal LLC, we know that the components of your estate plan should all work together to provide the security that you and your family deserve. For example, if you create a living will or another type of advance medical directive, it is important for your health care power of attorney agent to be aware of and understand your wishes. Conflicting provisions and misunderstandings regarding your medical care can create additional uncertainty at an already difficult time.
If you have questions about powers of attorney in Ohio, or if you would like to begin the process of creating one, contact our office. Call (330) 446-3606 for a free consultation at Erb Legal LLC today. Located in Medina, OH, we serve clients in Brunswick, Wadsworth, Wooster, Rittman, Orrville, Akron, Summit County, Wayne County, and Medina County.