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What to Consider When Taking on Power of Attorney in Ohio

What to Consider When Taking on Power of Attorney in Ohio
January 15, 2018 Shannon Dawes
Divorce and dissolution under Ohio law.

Power of Attorneys in Ohio

What to Consider When Taking on Power of Attorney in Ohio

A power of attorney gives someone the authority to make medical and/or financial decisions for someone else. Generally, a power of attorney is necessary when someone falls unconscious or becomes mentally incapacitated. While the act of obtaining power of attorney can be fairly straightforward, it does entail large responsibility and often comes about during an emotionally taxing time in your life. If you are considering a power of attorney agreement, it is important to understand what that means to make sure you are up to the task.

Uniform Power of Attorney Act of Ohio

In Ohio, power of attorney agreements are governed by the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which is set out in Ohio state statute 1337.34. When you are making medical or financial decisions for someone else, consistent with a power of attorney agreement, you have a legal obligation to act in that person’s best interest. This is referred to in the legal world as a “fiduciary duty.” Ohio law states that, to act in a person’s best interest, you must:

  • Act in accordance with the principal’s (person for whom you are acting as power of attorney) reasonable expectations to the extent actually known by the agent (you) and, otherwise, in the principal’s best interest;
  • Act in good faith;
  • Act only within the scope of authority granted in the power of attorney;
  • Attempt to preserve the principal’s estate plan to the extent actually known by the agent if preserving the plan is consistent with the principal’s best interest based on all relevant factors, including all of the following:
  1. The value and nature of the principal’s property;
  2. The principal’s foreseeable obligations and need for maintenance;
  3. Minimization of taxes, including income, estate, inheritance, generation-skipping transfer, and gift taxes;
  4. Eligibility for a benefit, a program, or assistance under a statute or regulation;
  • Act loyally for the principal’s benefit;
  • Act so as not to create a conflict of interest that impairs the agent’s ability to act impartially in the principal’s best interest;
  • Act with the care, competence, and diligence ordinarily exercised by agents in similar circumstances;
  • Keep a record of all receipts, disbursements, and transactions made on behalf of the principal;
  • Cooperate with a person that has authority to make healthcare decisions for the principal (if not you) to carry out the principal’s reasonable expectations to the extent actually known by the agent and otherwise, act in the principal’s best interest.

Taking into account all of the above, this can seem like a daunting and stressful undertaking. It is imperative that you participate in an open conversation with the person asking you to take on power of attorney to be sure you are both comfortable with the authorities that will be placed upon you.

An experienced, compassionate lawyer can help make this whole process easier. If you are considering creating or obtaining power of attorney in Ohio, contact Dawes Legal, LLC, at (614) 733-9999.

Dawes Legal, LLC
169 E Livingston Ave
Columbus, OH 43215
Telephone (614) 733-9999