Whether your estate plan is built around a will or trust, every complete estate plan should also include a durable power of attorney. Most of our client’s estate plans include a durable financial power of attorney and durable healthcare power of attorney, along with a living will.
A durable financial power of attorney is a legal document in which you grant another individual you trust, called your Agent or Attorney-in-Fact, authority to make financial and business decisions on your behalf. This type of power of attorney is intended to avoid the necessity of an expensive and time-consuming court proceeding to have a guardian appointed in the event you are no longer able to handle your own financial affairs.
There is some risk with this type of power of attorney. This is because your Attorney-in-Fact is authorized to act on your behalf even if you are still able to handle your own financial affairs, which might allow an unscrupulous Attorney-in-Fact to steal from you. If this is a concern, many clients elect to create a springing durable financial power of attorney. A springing power of attorney is a power of attorney that restricts your attorney-in-fact from acting on your behalf until such time as your physician has certified that you are unable to manage your own financial affairs.
The Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will are designed to cover health care and life support decision. The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care allows you to name an individual who will make health care decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to make those decisions yourself. The Living Will is designed to allow you to set forth your preferences concerning life prolonging treatment. For Ohio residents, both of these documents are standard documents that were created jointly by the Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio State Medical Association.
If you need these documents to complete your estate planning documents, Phillips Law Firm, Inc. can assist you with their creation, and would be happy to answer your questions.