At Dawes Legal, LLC, we help numerous families work through the process of obtaining power of attorney. We have found that our clients often have several questions at the outset of the process, and we have compiled a list below of the questions we usually hear, along with our answers.
What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a document that gives another person authority to act on your behalf. There are numerous capacities in which this person can act on your behalf that you can expressly state in your document.
Who are the different parties to a power of attorney agreement?
All power of attorney agreements have at least two parties:
- The principal; and
- The agent or attorney in fact
The principal is the person creating the power of attorney document or the subject of the power of attorney agreement. The agent or attorney in fact is the person who will act on the behalf of the principal. The agent is the person receiving power of attorney.
What are my options for power of attorney?
You generally have three different options for power of attorney agreements, and you can tailor your own agreement to your individual needs. These options include:
- General Power of Attorney – Gives your agent unlimited authority to act on your behalf and begins and ends on a set date.
- Special/Limited Power of Attorney – Gives your agent specific authority to act on your behalf. For instance, you might give someone power of attorney just for financial decisions or just for purposes of a pursuing a lawsuit on your behalf. You can format the scope of the agreement based on what you need from your agent.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Gives your agent the authority to act on your behalf even after you become disabled or mentally incapacitated and cannot make your own decisions. Both the general and special/limited powers of attorney can be made durable by adding certain language to the agreements.
How do I choose whom to give power of attorney?
The person you select as your agent or attorney in fact must be an adult and should absolutely be someone you trust. There is no requirement under Ohio law that this person be of a certain relation to you, so you do not need to select a family member if you’d rather give power of attorney to a trusted friend. Both you and your agent should feel comfortable with the responsibility being placed upon your agent, and you should feel confident in your agent’s ability to act in your best interests.
Do I need to hire a lawyer to create a power of attorney agreement?
Forms are available online that allow you to create a power of attorney agreement yourself, so you do not necessarily need a lawyer. However, hiring experienced counsel is the best way to be sure your document is valid under Ohio law.
If you are considering creating a power of attorney agreement, contact Dawes Legal, LLC, at (614) 733-9999 today.