Planning for Incapacity

No one ever wants to think that they may be incapacitated at some point in their life.  Unfortunately, it is a possibility and this is why it is so important to plan ahead and have legal documents prepared, such as a financial power of attorney and a health care power of attorney, both of which allow someone to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

A financial power of attorney allows someone to handle your finances should you become incapacitated.  In Ohio, there are two types of financial powers of attorney: springing and immediate.  A springing power of attorney does not go into effect until a specific time or date as outlined in the document, such as incapacity.  An immediate power of attorney goes into effect immediately when signed.  This means that the person you named in your power of attorney can handle your finances immediately after signing the document.  Many of my clients opt for a springing power of attorney as they want to be able to handle their finances as long as they are able to.

A health care power of attorney allows someone to make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated.  After filling out a health care power of attorney, I always recommend to my clients that they give a copy to their primary care doctor as well as to their local hospital so that they know who to contact in the event of an emergency.  In addition to the health care power of attorney, many people also fill out a living will.  This is different than a last will and testament and is typically referred to as the “pull the plug” document.  If you have a living will, this permits a doctor to stop life support or refuse to start life support if you’re permanently unconscious and two doctors state that life support won’t provide you comfort or relieve your pain.  This document alleviates family members or friends from having to make that end of life decision.

Should you have any questions about any of the above documents or wish to schedule a free consultation, please call me at (614) 221-2702 or schedule an appointment on my website at

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