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The estate plan and the power of attorney

An Ohio resident's estate plan might be improved with a power of attorney. A power of attorney can be durable or nondurable, but a durable power of attorney may be best for the purposes of an estate plan because it allows a person to step in and make financial decisions in the event the principal becomes incapacitated. A nondurable power of attorney is no longer valid if the principal becomes incapacitated.

A power of attorney should be someone who is trustworthy and responsible. It may be a spouse, child, sibling, friend or even a professional such as an attorney. A person who is uncomfortable giving a single agent all the power may name co-agents.

Just as important as choosing the right person is correct paperwork. If there is an error in the document, it might not be valid. It is also possible to create what is known as a "springing" power of attorney. This means that the power of attorney is triggered only when the principal becomes incapacitated.

While Ohio law has simplified the process of creating a durable power of attorney, people who want to have one might still want to work with an attorney throughout the process. There might be other documents they wish to create such as a medical power of attorney that appoints someone to make health care decisions, a will or a trust. Trusts can be particularly complex documents, but they may also address a variety of situations and needs including taking care of a relative with special needs who receives benefits from the government or managing money for a financially irresponsible loved one.

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