How to Obtain Power of Attorney in the State of Ohio

By Tom Speranza, J.D.

How to Obtain Power of Attorney in the State of Ohio

By Tom Speranza, J.D.

Someone grants power of attorney (POA) rights when they give another person the power to make financial or health decisions on their behalf. The individual giving the right to another is the principal, and the person being given the authority is the agent. When creating it, you'll have to choose whether you want the power to be general or limited. Giving general authority allows the agent to have various powers whereas a limited POA gives the agent very limited authority over certain decision-making processes for the principal.

Elderly couple looking at documents together

Types of Authority

A power of attorney includes the ability to complete transactions on the principal's behalf based on the agent's decisions, meaning that the agent can do any one or more of the following:

  • Buy or sell real estate, stock, and other assets
  • Deposit and withdraw money from the principal's bank, investment, and retirement accounts (and make investment decisions for such accounts)
  • Buy, sell, invest in, or operate a business
  • Purchase or terminate insurance policies and annuity contracts
  • Make estate planning decisions such as structuring and signing the principal's wills and trusts

Ohio's Uniform Power of Attorney Act governs powers of attorney used for financial matters, and those arrangements must comply with various legal requirements to be valid and enforceable.

Drafting an Ohio Power of Attorney

The easiest way to draft yours is to use the standard form supplied in Section 1337.60 of the Revised Ohio Code. If the principal is physically unable to sign the power of attorney, the principal can designate someone else to sign for them.

To complete the form, you'll need to:

  • Fill in the agent's name, address, and phone number.
  • Identify successor agents to act as the agent if the principal revokes the initial agent's authority or if the first-named agent resigns.
  • Designate which categories of the principal's assets the agent has the power to manage.
  • Describe any limits on the agent's authority or any other special instructions for agent.
  • Have the principal sign it with a notary public present to witness and notarize the principal's signature.

Duration of Authority

As a general rule, a POA is effective when the principal signs it. It lasts until the principal dies or revokes the agent's authority. A principal can input language into the document identifying a future date when it will take event. This is generally called a springing power of attorney. An example of this might be when the principal becomes physically or mentally incapacitated. If the document doesn't specify a future effective date, it is legally effective immediately after signed by the principal.

Ohio powers of attorney qualify as durable (meaning that they continue beyond the principal's incapacity) unless they specifically state that they expire if the principal becomes incapacitated. Ohio law defines the term "incapacity" as an inability of someone to manage their own property or business affairs due to impairment or incarceration.

Agent's Duties

An agent under an Ohio power of attorney has a legal obligation to act in accordance with the principal's reasonable expectations to the extent actually known by the agent and otherwise in the principal's best interest. Other obligations include the following:

  • Act in good faith
  • Act only within the scope of authority granted
  • Act loyally for the principal's benefit
  • Act so as not to create a conflict of interest that impairs the agent's ability to act impartially in the principal's best interest
  • Act with the care, competence, and diligence ordinarily exercised by agents in similar circumstances
  • Keep a record of all receipts, disbursements, and transactions made on behalf of the principal

When drafting a power of attorney agreement in Ohio, speak with the designated agent beforehand so that you are both in agreement with regard to the terms of the POA. Identify the type of authority you'd like to give that person, and understand that the POA agreement can be as broad or as limited as you want it to be. Understanding state laws in this area will help protect you when going through this process.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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