Are you concerned that someday you may be unable to manage your own finances or make your own decisions about medical care? Incapacitation can happen at any time, not just during a person’s “golden years.” Through serious accidents, injuries or illness, people of any age can suddenly find themselves dependent on others for assistance. Wouldn’t you like to select who those people are?
About Power of Attorney and Guardianship in Ohio
At Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd., our estate planning attorneys excel at the creation of durable financial powers of attorney, and health care powers of attorney to carry out your wishes should you become incapacitated. Without these documents, you may require a guardianship through the Probate Court.
A guardianship is an estate overseen by the Probate Court for management of the personal care, the estate, or both, of a minor child or “incompetent” adult — someone whose mental or physical disability renders them incapable of making sound decisions about his or her property. Having powers of attorney in place usually avoids the necessity of guardianship.
Durable Power of Attorney in Ohio
A durable power of attorney authorizes another person to handle your day-to-day financial affairs, including:
- Managing bank accounts, investments and real estate
- Investing assets
- Selling personal property and real estate
- Dealing with the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service
- Settling claims and debts
- Making gifts of assets
- Filing tax returns and other documents
The power of attorney can be effective immediately or only when the principal is incompetent, and can be revoked at any time. This document can also include a provision in which you name a guardian in the event you become incompetent.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A health care power of attorney is a document, signed by you, that authorizes the person you name to make all of your health care decisions. It only goes into effect after your attending physician determines that you are incapacitated, and unable to make health care decisions for yourself.
Living will declarations are used to express your health care wishes if you should be in a terminal condition or a permanently unconscious state. This document is effective only when you are incapacitated, and only if two physicians agree that you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
As with any estate planning document, a durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney and living will declaration should be reviewed on a routine basis to make sure they still reflect your wishes.
To discuss any of these important estate planning strategies, be sure to contact a lawyer at any of our three Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd., locations in northeast Ohio.