Executing a Financial Power of Attorney may be a wise decision. For married couples, with joint bank accounts (and joint access to manage monies), a financial power of attorney may appear at first less beneficial. Yet there are many other situations, whether married or otherwise, where having a trusted agent acting on your behalf may become both necessary and beneficial.

In Ohio, unless written otherwise, Financial Powers of Attorney become effective immediately and do not terminate unless directed by the principal (the person who created it). 

Also, Financial Powers of Attorney in Ohio are all durable, meaning that they survive the incapacity of the principal. It is not necessary to label them “Durable”. Of course if you do not wish the document to be durable, you can instruct your attorney to draft such language in the documents.

Financial Powers of Attorney can save you and your trusted agent (usually but not always) a family member from the stress and hardship of not being able to assist you in managing your affairs when you are unable to do so.

Creating a Financial Power of Attorney does not generally divest you of your right to manage your own affairs; it simply allows your agent to assist in instances where you wish them to do so.

Your Attorney can draft and complete your Financial Power of Attorney. It is an inexpensive way to avoid a lot of headaches down the road (oftentimes clients and their family come to their attorney too late in the process, when they do not have the mental capacity to execute the document) and the Attorney cannot ethically assist in executing the document.

Executing the document is usually a quick and painless process conducted in your Attorney’s office. Your signature is notarized (most attorneys are also Notaries Public) and the process is complete.

In Ohio, photocopies of your Power of Attorney are as legal and valid as presenting your original (although sometimes convincing banks and other financial institutions of this fact is a challenge). As such, we generally recommend retaining your original, presenting it as necessary and asking such institutions to make a photocopy if they feel it is necessary to do so. Just do not allow them to retain your original document!