How Power of Attorney Works, and Can Save Your Family Heartaches and Headaches

While every estate plan is different, some core elements remain the same. Power of Attorney documentation is among the most basic of forms a lawyer will use. In many cases, the same documentation handed to you will be identical to what you find online. This raises many questions, such as what does it do, when does it work, and why do lawyers sometimes opt for generic POA documentation?

What is a Power of Attorney

There are two kinds of Power of Attorney (POA) documentation. Health Care and Financial POAs work hand in hand to protect you and your family. This documentation stipulates to financial and health care officials who is able to make decisions in your stead. It's very important to note that these documents are only in effect while the subject of the documents is still alive. When an individual passes away, the Power of Attorney fails and gives way to potential Will and Trust documents.

When Does a Power of Attorney Take Effect

There are two types of POA documents that determine this, springing and non-springing. A springing POA only takes effect when you are incapacitated. Unable to make decisions for yourself, your POA would have those abilities. A springing POA also "turns off" when its owner returns to capacity. A Non-Springing POA is always active, even when the owner is able to make decisions. There are clear advantages and disadvantages to both, and it's up for you and your family to decide what is right for you.

Why Do Lawyers Use Generic POA Documentation

As odd as it may sound, it serves as a safety measure for you and your family. The Ohio State Bar Association has created a generic POA document that is freely accessible online. This document, due to it's accessibility, it is easily recognized by both medical and financial professionals, who are able to quickly check for proper signatures to know your wishes.

If it's been a while since it was drafted, it's likely time to review your own documentation. If you don't have a POA, or are mission other essential life planning documentation, please reach out today at (419) 352-7522 so we can set an appointment.

Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. This article is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from a licensed attorney

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