How does a durable financial power of attorney work in Ohio?

In Ohio, residents have the ability to create a financial power of attorney, generally referred to as a durable general power of attorney (GPOA). This document gives a named agent, called your Attorney in Fact, the power to act, manage, and control your finances as if they were you. Creating a GPOA allows you to choose someone you trust to help you if you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to manage your affairs. Without this document, the court may be forced to name a Guardian for you if you are unable to manager your affairs. The court may not choose the same person you would.

 

When a GPOA Takes Effect

You choose when your GPOA goes into effect. In some instances, the GPOA begins immediately, allowing your spouse or designated agent to handle your finances immediately. This is common between spouses or with other persons you unquestionably trust to carry out your wishes. The GPOA allows your agent to handle matters as if they were you even if you are otherwise able to handle those matters yourself. In this instance, it is important to opt for a “durable” GPOA so that financial control remains intact if you become incapacitated. You may also opt to have your GPOA take effect only if and when a doctor certifies that you are incapacitated. This is known as a “springing” GPOA.

 

Your Agent’s Power

In all states, including Ohio, your agent is required to act with your best interests in mind and keep accurate record of what they do. Perhaps because of these legal safeguards, many people grant their agent full access to their finances. You can, however, limit the power granted to your agent or allow them to perform only specific tasks using a specific power of attorney.

Common tasks performed by an GPOA agent include but are not limited to:

  • Paying your bills and everyday expenses
  • Buying, selling and maintaining real estate or other property
  • Collecting and managing your government, retirement or other benefits
  • Filing and paying your income taxes
  • Making gifts of your property
  • Making or modifying your estate plan

 

Creating Your GPOA

A GPOA is an important document for your estate plan. You may never need one. But if you need one, there is no other document that takes its place. The time to create a GPOA is before you need it. When you need it, the circumstances may prevent you from creating one then. At the Law Offices of David A. Ison, we include your GPOA with every estate planning package.

The End of the GPOA

Your GPOA ends the moment you die. At that time, you cannot act so your Attorney in Fact can no longer act on your behalf. You may also choose to revoke your GPOA at any time. Other circumstances may end your GPOA, like termination by court action, agent actions or unavailability, or divorce from your Attorney in Fact.