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New Changes in Ohio’s Power of Attorney Laws

If you’re an Ohio resident concerned with the medical care of a loved one, you should be familiar with Ohio’s laws regarding power of attorney.

A financial power of attorney, also known as a durable power of attorney, is a legal document an individual (the “principal”) can use to appoint someone (the “agent”) to act on his or her behalf.  This authority can be used for financial, business, and health matters.   Most often, this authority is used when an individual becomes unable to handle his or her own affairs.

There have been several changes that Ohio has adopted affecting these powers.  Effective March 22, 2012, Ohio adopted the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, or UPOAA.   UPOAA focuses on preventing financial elder abuse.  The law now includes a statutory form with language designed to help prevent agents from abusing their power.  Put simply, the law now demands power of attorneys to be more specific and provide specific “hot powers.”

Since this new law, third parties such as a financial institution are not required to honor a general power of attorneys.  Now, the law asks that a power of attorney include specifically which types of assets and accounts the agent is allowed to control.

A power of attorney created before March 22, 2012 will still be valid; however, ask an attorney to review it in light of the current law and consider using the 2012 statutory power of attorney form.   In sum, UPOAA prohibits agents from performing certain acts unless the power of attorney specifically authorizes them.  Because financial power of attorney documents give significant powers to another person, they should be granted only after careful consideration.

To learn more about drafting a power of attorney, contact the law office of Baron Law LLC.  You will speak directly with Cleveland, Ohio attorney, Dan Baron.  Call today at 216-573-3723 to learn more about how Baron Law can help create your estate plan and power of attorney.