Estates Planning Lawyer

I Recently moved to Ohio from another State? Do I Need To Update My Power of Attorney?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers the following helpful answers to Powers of Attorney:

What If I have a Power of Attorney From another state?

Most Powers of Attorney signed in other states will be recognized in the other states. A Power of Attorney used to convey title to real estate, typically must be signed, dated, witnessed by two people, and “acknowledged” or notarized by a notary public or court official.  The state laws will govern who is authorized to take “acknowledgments”.  The practical question is not whether the Power of Attorney is valid, but whether a financial institution will honor it.  Also, if the document refers to statutes from another state, you may have to provide a copy of those statutes.

The law may vary in the state where you signed your Power of Attorney versus the state in which you now reside. Even if the document lists the same or similar powers, the meanings may be different  in the two states.  Also, many states have different statutory protections for people signing a Power of Attorney.

Suffice it to say, it may be in your best interest, if practicable, that you have new Powers of Attorney executed.


Do I need to get a new Power of Attorney if I move to a different state?

When moving to a different state, you should always consult a local attorney to see whether your Power of Attorney will be as you intended.

In some states, a Power of Attorney is not “durable” unless it is “recorded”. Recorded means filed with local government.  In addition, there may be special rules about how it is revoked.  It would behoove you to check with a local attorney.

Again, it may be in your best interest, if practicable, that you have new Powers of Attorney executed.


A Power of Attorney is only one of the many parts to a comprehensive estate plan. For information regarding living wills, trusts, power of attorney, or a pour-over will, or further questions on Powers of Attorney, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law to arrange a meeting at 216-573-3723.

Estate Planning Attorney

What Is a Power of Attorney and Do I Need One?

Cleveland, Ohio estate planning attorney, Daniel A. Baron, offers the following helpful answers to Powers of Attorney:

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document you use allowing another designated person, of your choosing, to act on your behalf. It is a legal relationship in which you are the principal and the person you appoint is the agent.  A Power of Attorney outlines specific powers you give to your agent. The powers can be limited or broad. An example would be, you are selling your house, but are not able to attend the closing.  You can at that point give someone the power just to sign the deed in your absence.  Keep in mind that most durable powers of attorney, give your agent the power to do almost anything you could or would do.  In this example you may just limit the function of the Power of Attorney’s duties.

Some financial institutions, brokerage firms, or banks may require you to sign one of their own company specific Power of Attorney for their files.

Why do I need a Power of Attorney?

In the event you become unable to handle your own affairs as a result of illness, accident, or even being absent due to your job, the Power of Attorney gives your agent the power to handle your financial affairs as you would handle them yourself.  Since you might not be able to execute a Power of Attorney at a time when you are disabled due to an accident or become incapacitated, or should you become unable to handle your own affairs and have no Power of Attorney, your spouse or family may have to request the Probate Court to appoint a power of attorney on your behalf.  A Power of Attorney can be very helpful to both you and your family, as by naming your own agent and having a signed Power of Attorney avoids the expense of probate court and avoids naming someone who may not know and carryout your wishes.

Where should I keep my Power of Attorney?

As your Power of Attorney is an important legal document, it is recommended that you keep it in a safe and secure place. You may also want to give a copy to your agent(s) or in a safe and secure place where it can be easily found by your acting agent.  Your agent may also keep a copy in case yours is lost. It is also wise to make sure your family knows where to find your Power of Attorney, or whom to ask when it is needed.  And of course, your attorney will have a copy of the Power of Attorney.

What does “durable” mean?

The legal definition of ‘durable’ means the Power of Attorney will remain in effect even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated. The powers you give to your agent will remain effective even though you are unable to give your agent updated instructions.  If you have an older power of attorneys or an out of state powers of attorney, many of these still have these words, and remain in effect.

When does the Power of Attorney take effect?

The Power of Attorney becomes effective immediately upon signing the document before two witnesses and having it notarized. The agent is able to use the Power of Attorney as soon as he or she receives it.  However, you may give the Power of Attorney to your agent(s) and tell the person(s) NOT to use it unless you are unconscious or unable to act for yourself.  It is imperative that you know and trust the person you are asking to be your Power of Attorney.

You may opt to use a “springing” Power of Attorney which would not take effect until a specific triggering event happens, such as you become incapacitated. However, there are several issues with springing Powers of Attorney.  The agent first needs an affidavit showing the triggering event has occurred before the Power of Attorney can be put into use.  Then, even though the law says banks and other institutions that accept the document with the affidavit are not liable, banks have been reluctant to recognize the agent’s power under a springing Power of Attorney. Ultimately, it isn’t clear whether such a document would be accepted in other states other than your own.

Does giving someone a Power of Attorney mean I don’t have control over my money any longer?

It does not. Although you still have the right to control your money and property after a Power of Attorney has been put in place, keep in mind, you are giving your agent the ability to access your money.  Although there is a risk that a dishonest or unscrupulous agent might steal your money, your agent is not supposed to use your funds in any manner with your permission.  It is therefore vital to choose an agent you trust. A sound idea would be to go over the agent’s duties before you sign your power of attorney.

Do I need to update my Power of Attorney if nothing has changed?

It is always a good idea to review your Power of Attorney periodically to make sure you still agree with your choices.

There are some banks, brokerage firms, and other financial institutions that will attempt to reject a Power of Attorney that is several years old. This is mainly due to the possibility that the Power of Attorney has been revoked.  This is a good thing, so that an unscrupulous agent that had their Power of Attorney duties revoked, does not gain access to your funds and deplete them.  There are several options to prepare for this. If you remain competent it is very wise to re-execute your Power of Attorney every five years or so.

If unfortunately, you are no longer competent; your agent can sign an affidavit that your power of attorney is in full force and in effect and provide that to the financial institution.

A Power of Attorney is only one of the many parts to a comprehensive estate plan. For information regarding living wills, trusts, power of attorney, or a pour-over will, or further questions on Powers of Attorney, contact Daniel A. Baron of Baron Law today at 216-573-3723.

Cleveland, Ohio Attorney

What is Business Succession?

Whether you’re planning for retirement or the life of your business after your death, it’s imperative to develop a business succession plan to sooner rather than later.   There is no “one plan fits all” when it comes to developing a succession plan for your business.  And given that the economy is constantly changing, it isn’t surprising small business owners focus their energies on business survival, future growth, and even remaining active in business after retirement.

Business succession is about three things (1) Estate planning; (2) Retirement; and (3) Risk Management.

Estate Planning

Your estate plan should be incorporated into your business succession plan.  What will happen to your company assets after you die?  Who will run your business?  If you want to provide for your family using your business assets, you should consider at the very least having a last will and testament.  Carefully drafting your will allows you to select desired beneficiaries, elect an executor, and transfer your assets through probate.  Your family will be going through a difficult time.  Setting up a last will and testament in advance helps your family during that difficult time.


When thinking about retirement, it’s important to consider your options when selling your business.  Will you sell with a lump sum, installments, mix, employee buy-out, or merger?  There are numerous options when planning for your retirement and taking advantage of the business you built.  Thus, business succession is about planning for your exit strategy.  To learn more about your options, visit this article.

Risk Management

Business succession is about limiting your risk.  If you have partners within your company, you should be aware of the risks involved.  For example, if your partner gets divorced, their spouse is entitled to the partner’s share in the business through the divorce proceedings.  If your partner dies, you can now be partners with their spouse or estate.  One option to avoid this potential risk is to create a buy-sell agreement through a cross purchase agreement or entity purchase agreement.

Business succession is an important idea that every business owner should consider.  Contact your Cleveland, Ohio business succession and estate planning attorney for more information on how to set up your plan.  You may also consider contacting Cleveland, Ohio law firm Baron Law LLC at 216-573-3723.


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Building a Charitable Contribution in your Estate Plan

Estate Planning Charitable Donations

Have you ever considered incorporating a charitable donation into your estate plan?   Aside from the tax benefits, including charitable giving into your estate plan is a wonderful way to extend your legacy and show your generosity.  And contrary to public belief, charitable giving in your estate plan is not just for the very wealthy.   Through an estate planning attorney, there are several good ways to provide for your family while also giving to your favorite causes.

  1. Charitable Contributions through Your Will

The easiest and least complicated way to include a charitable contribution in your estate plan is through your will.  The amount you charitably contribute won’t reduce your income taxes, but it may decrease your taxable estate.  In addition, this may potentially increase the amount you’ll be able to leave to your heirs.  Talk with an estate planning attorney to learn more.

  1. Charitable Contributions through Your Retirement

You can also contribute to your favorite charity by donating a portion of your retirement account. Donating a retirement account is tax-effective and pretty straightforward.   A donor must simply designate the charity as the beneficiary on your account to receive the tax benefit.  Charities are exempt from both income and estate taxes.  Thus, the charity can receive 100% of the account’s value while your children or heirs receive their portion of the estate through non-retirement assets.  Consult with an estate planning attorney to learn more.

  1. Split-interest gift

Another way to make a charitable contribution is through a split-interest gift.  Through a split interest gift, you can donate assets to a charity but may also retain some of the benefits of holding those assets.  Here, the donor opens and funds a trust in the charity’s name and receives a charitable income tax deduction at the time of transfer.  Just like with other trusts, here the donor retains some rights to the property and may be able to avoid capital gains on the assets transferred.  Talk with an estate planning attorney to learn more about split-interest gifts.

Some ways to provide split-interest gifts include:

  • Charitable remainder trust (CRT): A CRT is an irrevocable trust that provides either a fixed payment or a fixed percentage to the donor (or other beneficiary) every year.  The term of the trust can for the life of the donor or a set number of years.   At a minimum, the donor must take annual payments from the trust no less than 5% but no more than 50% of the property’s fair market value.  At the end of the term, the remainder goes to the designated charity.  To maximize payments during the lifetime of the donor, the trust should appreciate value while receiving payments in the form of a percentage.   In contrast, if the trust will not appreciate in value, you’re better off receiving a fixed payment each year. Consult with an estate planning attorney to learn more.
  • Charitable lead trust (CLT): A CLT is the reverse of a CRT.  This revocable trust provides income to a charity for a set number of years, after which the remainder passes to the donor’s heirs or beneficiaries.  The CLT is a good choice for those who don’t need a lifetime of income from certain assets.  The trust is often structured to get an income tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the property transferred, with the remaining interest valued at zero to eliminate a taxable gift.  Contact an estate planning attorney to learn more about charitable lead trusts.
  • Pooled income fund (PIF):  Pooled income funds are trusts maintained by public charities. The trust is set up by donors who contribute to the fund.  Just like a CRT, the donor receives income during his or her lifetime.  After the donor’s death, control over the funds goes to the charity. The biggest benefit to a PIF is that contributions qualify for charitable income deductions as well as gift and estate tax deductions.  Talk with an estate planning attorney to learn more.

Charitable Giving is not just for the Wealthy.

There is a misconception that charitable giving is just for the wealthy; however, this is far from true.  Many people give to their alma mater or local church.  The amount does not need to be in the tens of thousands.  In fact, many people give smaller amounts by simply adding the charity in their will.  This blog is not meant to provide legal advice and is for informational purporses only.  For more information regarding wills, trusts, or charitable giving, contact Cleveland, Ohio law firm Baron Law, LLC.  Baron Law is your estate planning law firm in Cleveland, Ohio.  Call today for a free consultation at 216-573-3723.