In Columbus, Ohio, "power of attorney" refers to a number of different legal arrangements. However, the various systems which fall under the umbrella of that term have one thing in common: if somebody grants power of attorney to somebody else, the person with power of attorney is authorized to make specific decisions on behalf of the person who granted it. There are many reasons why a person might want to grant this power to another, but it usually granted in contemplation of the possibility that the grantor might become unable to express his or her wishes due to some form of incapacity.
The principal can state in advance the scope and nature of the attorney-in-fact's authority. The agreement should be very clear on this matter, so you give the attorney-in-fact enough power to carry out your instructions, but not more than they need in order to accomplish your objectives. Additionally, the attorney-in-fact should be someone you trust, such as a family member or life partner. You also need to be cognizant of the fact that your distinct situation, as well as the actions you want the attorney to be able to take on your behalf, will help decide the most effective arrangement.
For example, some people have particular wishes, whether based on religion or personal preference, about how they should be cared for at the end of their life. Oftentimes, people who are at the end of their lives become unable to express their wishes. Thus, it becomes necessary to have somebody else who knows what they would want, and has the legal authority to give effect to those wishes.
In Columbus, Ohio, you can sometimes find pre-printed forms that let you easily draft a power-of-attorney agreement. However, if your situation is particularly complex, you should probably have a lawyer draft it for you, to ensure that the agreement is enforceable, or that there are no surprises.
Types of Power of Attorney Arrangements in Columbus, Ohio
There are 3 main arrangements that power of attorney can involve in Columbus, Ohio. They are:
1. Limited power of attorney - limited power of attorney gives the attorney-in-fact the power to act on your behalf on a single issue, in a single transaction. For instance, if you are purchasing a house in another state, you may wish to grant limited power of attorney to a friend or relative who lives in that state, so they can sign all of the appropriate documents on your behalf, so you don't have to incur travel expenses. For obvious reasons, you should only grant this authority to someone you trust. Once the transaction is complete, the power of attorney automatically disappears.
2. Durable power of attorney - unlike limited power of attorney, discussed above, this does not automatically expire, though the principal can dissolve it at any time. It is normally not limited to a single transaction, either. Rather, it covers a broader subject matter, though it still has limits. For instance, you could give someone durable power of attorney to make medical decisions for you, but they would only be authorized to act in that context.
3. Springing power of attorney - this is close to durable power of attorney, but the power is conditional. That is, it does not take effect unless some certain event takes place. This event can be anything. Most commonly, however, the agreement authorizes the attorney-in-fact to make important medical and financial decisions for the principal, only in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated. However, there are sometimes disagreements over whether or not a person is really "incapacitated" to the point that the power of attorney has been triggered. This can lead to a court of law having to determine the issue.
Can a Columbus, Ohio Lawyer Help?
Because there are sometimes difficult issues involved in setting up power of attorney in Columbus, Ohio, you should consult with a lawyer beforehand. You can tell the lawyer all of the relevant details about your individual situation, and your goals, and he or she will be able to advise you on the best course of action.