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What is an Ohio Power of Attorney?

An Ohio power of attorney is a legal document that acts as the authorization for a person, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions, healthcare decisions, real estate decisions, or estate decisions on behalf of the person granting this authority. An Ohio POA is often used as an estate planning tool. Yet, there are other instances where a POA is also used.

Quick Reference:

The person granting permission is referred to as the principal, donor, or grantor.

The person receiving authority is known as the agent or the attorney-in-fact.

OH POA Laws:

An Ohio power of attorney is a power of attorney form must comply with Chapter 1337 of Ohio Revised Code. These laws specifically outline the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney and ensures that the statutory form, as well as its duties, are protected under the law. Here are some of the state’s power of attorney requirements:

  • The principal must be a legal adult of sound mind who understands what they are signing.
  • The document must be signed and dated by the principal and two witnesses; or signed in the presence of a notary public.
  • The principal must use the statutory form and place their initials next to each set of powers the agent is allowed to use, according to the Ohio Bar website.

The principal may revoke (terminate) the power of attorney as long as they are competent. This remains true even for durable powers of attorney. According to the Ohio Bar website, if the POA included the power to handle real estate, the revocation should be filed with the county recorder where the property is located. Additionally, a power of attorney is also terminated when:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the POA is not durable.
  • The purpose of the power of attorney is fulfilled.
  • The expiration date within the power of attorney passes.
  • A guardian is appointed to care for the principal by the court and the court terminates the power of attorney.
  • The court terminates the power of attorney in the best interest of the principal.
  • The principal and agent are married and file for divorce, dissolution, annulment, or legal separation and the power of attorney does not specifically state the agent will remain the agent.
  • The agent becomes incapacitated, dies, or steps down and there is no co-agent or successor agent named.

Why Would You Use an Ohio Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why a person would use an Ohio power of attorney form to give another person the ability to make decisions related to their tangible personal property, financial institution transactions, tax matters, or their well-being. Some of those reasons include:

  • Their age, mental health concerns, or the diagnosis of an illness. They may want their matters handled in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone, regardless of whether they have a terminal illness or they are in perfect health, have the proper power of attorney established to ensure their matters are appropriately handled and their wishes are fulfilled.
  • A person diagnosed with a mental illness may require a different power of attorney than a person diagnosed with a terminal illness.
  • A person who has minor children may require a different power of attorney than a person who does not have minor children.

Every person’s power of attorney needs can be different. There are several types of powers of attorney available. Before you decide to use a POA, get legal advice to determine which will best suit your needs as well as how to revoke a power of attorney in the event it becomes necessary for you to do so. Here are the most commonly used Ohio power of attorney forms.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants broad power to a single agent.

  • It is generally thought of as a financial power of attorney. If the principal becomes incapacitated or dies, this type of POA is revoked. The principal may also revoke the POA as long as they are competent.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is an "extended version" of a general power of attorney because it goes beyond the parameters of a general power of attorney.

  • The term "durable" comes from the fact that this authorization continues over the principal if they were to become incapacitated. The most common durable powers of attorney documents in Ohio are financial power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney. The Ohio State Bar provides free information about durable financial power of attorney forms.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney grants limited power to whatever the principal states in the special instructions.

  • In many cases, an agent will have the power to handle finances, or make medical decisions, but will not have the authority to do other things such as sell real property (depending on what the principal decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the authority terminates if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated. The power of attorney is also terminated if its purpose is fulfilled or its expiration date passes. The principal may also revoke the power of attorney as long as they are competent.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney is used to appoint an agent to make medical decisions for the principal.

  • Like other powers of attorney, unless a medical power of attorney is durable, it loses its effectiveness if the principal becomes incapacitated. While a durable medical durable power of attorney does allow the agent to make decisions after a principal is incapacitated, it still has its limits. It cannot be used to make end-of-life decisions. Cleveland Clinic provides free information about advance directives. The principal may revoke the POA, even if it is durable, as long as they are competent.

Minor Child Power of Attorney

A minor child power of attorney allows a parent or guardian to grant decision-making rights over their minor child to a temporary guardian in the instance that the parent or guardian may not be present during a medical emergency.

  • This form is generally used if the parent or guardian must leave the country for a period of time. It is also used when the child is temporarily living or traveling with another adult other than their parent or guardian.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

A real estate power of attorney grants power to the agent that allows them to buy, sell, and manage real estate on the principal's behalf.

  • Because this type of POA can be durable or non-durable and come with long-term consequences, the principal should seek the advice of an attorney to determine how best to draft this document.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney allows the agent who is usually a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Ohio Department of Taxation on behalf of the principal.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney allows the agent to buy, sell, and handle the necessary paperwork with the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Motor Vehicles on the principal's behalf.

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