Many people have a will. Wills control what happens to our property after we die. We cannot handle our affairs after our death, so we need to allow others to carry out our wishes through the instructions of our will.
While we are alive, we can clearly make our own decisions. But unfortunately, one day you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot make your own decisions. Such situations occur most often in accidents, illnesses (physical or mental) and simple aging situations. You can also make your own decisions, but sometimes you don’t want or don’t want them.
The “while we are alive” version of the will is the power of attorney. The power of attorney is easiest to think of as an “employment contract”, even if no other decision maker is paid.
The “principal” under the power of attorney is like an employer, a person who does not, cannot, or does not make his own decisions. The “agent” of the power of attorney is like an employee who makes his or her own decisions.
Traditionally, the attorney’s authority to make health care decisions was a separate document from the attorney’s authority to something other than health care (such as finance).
The power of attorney can identify multiple agents and can also list successor agents to act if the first agent is not available.
“Durability” is a term used to describe the power of attorney system. A “durable” attorney’s authority is a “durable” attorney’s authority to apply / work if the person is incapable of processing his or her work. If the principal is disabled or unable to handle the principal’s duties, it is clear that a power of attorney is needed. However, traditionally, the attorney’s authority ceases to function or becomes inapplicable if the person is incapacitated. Currently, almost all power of attorneys are permanent.
If someone is unable to make his or her decision and does not have the power of a lawyer, the person trying to make a decision for that incompetent must seek a guardian for the incompetent. Hmm. In the context of a guardian, an incompetent person is called a “ward” and a person empowered to make a ward decision is called a “guardian”.
Candidates need the required classes, background checks, and court hearings, and parents will have a local probate court for all decisions made to the ward, including details of the ward’s financial management. Parents are quite expensive and annoying because they have to report to.
Even in our rural areas, families have very limited ability to make decisions for their incompetent people if someone cannot make their own decisions. The days when a spouse can sign the laws and financial statements of another spouse without the power of attorney are gone.
Outside of the will, the power of attorney can be the most important document for people to put in place to save parents time and money.
Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio-licensed lawyer at the Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his business to business, real estate, real estate planning, and agricultural issues in northwestern Ohio.He can reach at Lee@LeeSchroeder.com or 419-659-2058.. This article is not intended to be legal advice and you should seek specific advice from a qualified attorney of your choice based on the specific facts and circumstances you face.
Legal Ease of Use: Do I Really Need a Power of Attorney?
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