Power of Attorney is a contract between two individuals where one party (the principal) gives to the other (the agent) the authority to make any number of decisions (e.g. medical, placement, financial) on his or her behalf. The person granting the power of attorney must be mentally competent to enter into the contract.
If the contract is made "durable," the power of attorney remains in effect if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated.
A durable power of attorney is especially useful to save you, your family, and loved ones from court proceedings to appoint a guardian or committee for you if you become incapacitated. As a practical matter, most attorneys recommend the use of a durable power of attorney more than a power of attorney because the durable power of attorney is long-lasting.
Both the power of attorney and durable power of attorney are created using specific language, and the advice of an attorney should be sought in preparing them. Care should be taken to ensure you make these documents as specific as possible in order to protect your rights and property. You should be sure that the person granted your power of attorney is an individual whom you completely trust to use the power as you would direct if you were capable of doing so.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney (FPOA) is a written document by which a competent adult, known as the principal, appoints and authorizes another competent adult, known as the attorney-in-fact (A-I-F), to act on the principal’s behalf. Financial powers of attorney usually cover financial, business, personal and real estate matters.
- Click here for a fact sheet about FPOA from Pro Seniors.
- Click here for options to create a FPOA from Pro Seniors.
- Click here for a fact sheet about FPOA from the Ohio State Bar Assocation
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a legal document which authorizes another person to make health care decisions for you if you lose the capacity to make informed health care decisions for yourself.
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:
- Names an individual you trust to make a wide variety of health care decisions for you at anytime you cannot do so for yourself — whether or not your condition is terminal.
- Becomes effective only when you are temporarily or permanently unable to make your own decisions regarding treatment.
- Requires the person you appoint to make decisions that are consistent with your wishes.
- Will not overrule a Living Will in the event you have both documents.
Click here for a fact sheet about Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney from the Ohio State Bar Association.
To view additional forms from Pro Seniors, please click here.