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How to Make a Power of Attorney in Ohio

Written by: Catherine Hodder, Esq. , Senior Legal Writer
Reviewed by: Jordan Walker, J.D. , Legal Writer
Last updated May 17, 2024

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A power of attorney allows you to name someone to act in your place, whether for your convenience if you are traveling or if you are unable to handle your own affairs. Learn why you should consider having a power of attorney in your estate plan and how to create a power of attorney in Ohio.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

financial power of attorney is a legal document that lets you, as the “principal,” appoint someone else as your “agent” to act on your behalf and handle your financial matters. You decide what powers to grant your agent and when your power of attorney begins and ends. For a health care agent, someone to make medical decisions for you, you need a health care power of attorney. A financial power of attorney is critical if you suddenly can’t manage your affairs. Your family members or loved ones would have to petition a court for conservatorship and have the court appoint someone to handle your finances, which takes time and money.

Who Can Be My Agent?

In Ohio, an agent must be 18 or older and mentally competent to handle your affairs. It should be someone you trust because they can access your bank accounts and bind you to contracts. When choosing someone as your agent, ask someone who is organized, understands money, and can handle the job. Your agent must act in good faith and in your best interest, or they will breach their fiduciary duty.

Avoid using co-agents, as that can complicate your wishes. Either they must act jointly, and if your co-agents disagree, nothing gets done. Or if you have your co-agents act independently, they can contradict each other and confuse banks and other third parties. It is better to name a primary agent and a backup or successor agent. If your primary agent is unwilling or unable to serve, your successor agent can step in as the agent.

What Can My Agent Do in Ohio?

You decide what powers you want to grant your agent. These powers include actions such as paying bills, managing real estate investments, and filing your taxes. In your power of attorney, you indicate what subjects you want your agent to handle, such as the following:

  • Real Property (Real Estate)
  • Tangible Personal Property
  • Stocks and Bonds
  • Commodities and Options
  • Banks and Other Financial Institutions
  • Operation of Entity or Business
  • Insurance and Annuities
  • Estates, Trusts, and Other Beneficial Interests
  • Claims and Litigation
  • Personal and Family Maintenance
  • Benefits from Governmental Programs or Civil or Military Service
  • Retirement Plans
  • Taxes
  • Digital Assets
  • Electronic Communications

Additionally, there are certain acts that you must specifically grant your agent that can reduce your estate. Some people may want their agent to reduce their estate to minimize estate taxes or to qualify them for government benefits such as Medicaid. These acts include:

  • Creating a trust
  • Amending, revoking, or terminating an inter vivos trust
  • Making a gift
  • Creating or changing rights of survivorship
  • Create or change a beneficiary designation
  • Delegate authority granted under the power of attorney
  • Waive the principal’s right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan
  • Exercise fiduciary powers that the principal has authority to delegate

Carefully consider what powers to give your agent and instruct them on how you would like them to handle your affairs.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Ohio?

durable power of attorney means the power of attorney is not terminated by the principal’s incapacity. Incapacity in Ohio means someone cannot manage their property or business affairs.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

Generally, a durable POA is effective when signed. However, you can make a “springing” power of attorney where your power of attorney begins on a specified date, such as when you are out of town or a specified event, such as your incapacity.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

As principal, you can revoke your power of attorney at any time if you are mentally competent. However, there are other occasions when your power of attorney ends, such as:

  • The principal dies
  • The agent dies, and there is no backup or successor agent
  • The agent is unable or unwilling to serve, and there is no backup or successor agent
  • There is a termination date or event in the power of attorney, and that date or event occurs

Additionally, if your agent is your spouse and you divorce or your marriage is annulled or terminated, the agent’s authority is revoked.

Does Ohio Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

No. Ohio does not provide a statutory form for a power of attorney. You can either create your own power of attorney document using a power of attorney form customized to your needs or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Ohio?

Yes. If you have a sound mind (meaning mentally competent) and know who you want as your agent and what powers to grant them, you can create your own power of attorney. Many people who wish for self-service legal solutions turn to online estate planning resources to draft their POA document. Make sure the form conforms to Ohio law and that you can customize it to your needs. However, consult an estate planning attorney for legal advice if you have questions about a POA.

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How Do I Make My Power of Attorney Valid in Ohio?

Under state law, a power of attorney must be signed by the principal or in the principal’s conscious presence by another individual directed by the principal to sign the principal’s name on the power of attorney. Under §1337.25, a signature on a power of attorney is presumed genuine if the principal acknowledges the signature before a notary public or other individual authorized by law to take acknowledgments.

Do I Have to Notarize My Power of Attorney in Ohio?

It is best to have a notary attest your signature on the power of attorney, as your signature will be presumed genuine.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

Once you sign your power of attorney before a notary, provide copies to your agent and any third parties you want to have notice of your POA, such as your bank or financial institution. A third party may have a form such as an agent certification form to complete. In this form, your agent swears that your power of attorney is effective and that they are authorized to act on your behalf.

Does a Power of Attorney Agent Get Paid in Ohio?

Unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney, your agent is entitled to reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred on your behalf and reasonable compensation for serving as your agent.

Is My Ohio Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. A valid power of attorney that follows Ohio state requirements will be accepted in another state.

Can I Revoke My Ohio Power of Attorney?

Yes. You can revoke your power of attorney if you are mentally competent at the time. To revoke your power of attorney, make a “Revocation of Power of Attorney,” which is a statement revoking your power of attorney and your agent’s authority. Reference your original power of attorney, the date signed, and the names of the agents. Sign your document before a notary and distribute copies to your agent(s) and to all banks and third parties who have your original power of attorney.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Ohio?

A financial power of attorney is important because, in the event of incapacity, you have decided who can speak for you, what powers they have to handle your affairs, and when the power of attorney begins and ends. However, it is only one part of a comprehensive estate plan. There are two other documents to consider: a health care directive and a last will and testament.

A health care directive is a medical power of attorney and a living will. It is also known as an advance directive. It may be referred to as a durable power of attorney for healthcare in Ohio. You can name someone to access your healthcare records, talk to medical providers, and make healthcare decisions on your behalf. You can also give special instructions for the medical treatments or life-prolonging measures you want when you have an end-stage illness or terminal condition. Putting your wishes in writing saves your loved ones from wondering what you want when you can’t speak for yourself.

last will and testament is only effective upon your death. You choose your personal representative (who you want to manage your estate), who will inherit your property, and who will care for your minor children and pets. By making these decisions in your will, the probate process moves more quickly, saving time and money in court.

Fortunately, making a valid power of attorney and creating other Ohio estate planning documents is easy with online estate planning templates.

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