While we would like to think that we are going to stay healthy forever, it is important to prepare for worst-case scenarios. For many people, one of these scenarios is no longer being able to make decisions for themselves due to incapacitation. Many medical conditions, such as dementia or a coma, can cause a person to lose the ability to properly care for themselves.
Choosing someone to make decisions on your behalf if you ever become incapacitated is an important part of an estate plan. This person or agent will be given the power to act on your behalf. There are two types of power of attorneys:
- Medical POA: Choose agent to be in charge of your medical decisions.
- Financial POA: Choose agent to be in charge of your financial decisions.
As you are choosing the type of financial power of attorney that works best for you, you should consider the following:
- Length of time: How long with the POA be in place (durable or non-durable)?
- Broad or limited power: Will the agent have extensive decision-making powers or will the powers be limited to only certain decisions?
- Responsibilities of agent: What will be the responsibilities of your agent (e.g., pay bills, sell real estate, and/or manage bank accounts) and which transactions will you include (e.g., real property, stocks and bonds, or business operations).
- Characteristics of the agent: Is the agent trustworthy, organized, detail-oriented, and able to meet deadlines?
- Willingness of agent: Is the agent aware of all of their duties and willing to fulfill them?
- Backup option: Who will you choose as a backup agent if your first choice is unable or unwilling to perform their duties?
If you are choosing a financial or medical POA, it may be in your best interest to meet with an Ohio estate planning attorney. Your attorney can help you review your options and guide you in your choice.