What is a Springing Power of Attorney?
Cincinnati estate planning attorneys at Zimmer Law Firm can provide assistance with making an incapacity plan so you and your family will be prepared if an illness or an injury renders you unable to make your own decisions or manage your own affairs. Preparing for incapacity is important because otherwise life could become very difficult for your loved ones if something happens to you. Your family could be forced to go to court to have a guardian or conservator named to act on your behalf and while this process is taking place, losses could occur since no one would have authority to manage your wealth. If the court appointed someone you didn’t trust to manage assets, losses could also happen if that person wasn’t able to take care of your wealth in the most appropriate way.
To avoid these undesirable outcomes, you should reach out to Zimmer Law Firm to create an incapacity plan that is right for you. Often, your incapacity plan will include a power of attorney (POA). It’s important to talk with a lawyer about creating a power of attorney rather than just using standard forms online, because you have different options including using a springing power of attorney.
What is a Springing Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a grant of authority to an agent or attorney in fact. The agent that you give power to will have the authority to act on your behalf in making important decisions and managing assets. While a limited power of attorney could be created if you want to designate someone to act for you only in specific circumstances — such as signing papers on your behalf when you are unable — your power of attorney will need to be a general grant of authority if you want to use the POA as part of your incapacity plan.
In Ohio, a power of attorney is durable by default, according to the Ohio State Bar Association. A power of attorney that you use for incapacity needs to be durable because only a durable power of attorney will remain in effect once you become incapacitated. If your POA was not durable, the grant of authority would end upon your incapacity, which would make it useless in making an incapacity plan.
While you want someone to have authority to act for you if something happens to you, you may be concerned about granting broad authority to your agent while you are still healthy and able to act on your own. If this is a worry for you, a springing power of attorney may be the right choice. A springing power of attorney goes into effect when a future triggering event, like your incapacity occurs.
If you set up a springing power of attorney to become effective only after you become incapacitated, you will not have to worry that your agent could possibly act on your behalf while you’re still in control of managing your own affairs. However, as the State Bar Association warns, this could complicate things significantly because banks and other financial institutions who your agent must interact with to manage your assets may have questions and concerns about whether the triggering event has occurred and the agent has been granted authority. This could delay the process of your agent becoming able to act on your behalf, which can create a period of uncertainty and sometimes necessitate court action — which you were trying to avoid by creating your power of attorney. An experienced attorney can advise you on whether this is a concern and whether a springing power of attorney is the best choice for you.
How Can Cincinnati Estate Planning Attorneys Help You?
Cincinnati estate planning attorneys can provide you with assistance in creating a springing power of attorney or in otherwise creating an incapacity plan. There are different tools that you can use to make your plans for incapacity and we will help you to make certain that the tools you select are the right ones for your particular situation.
To find out more about how Zimmer Law Firm can help you with your plans for sickness or injury, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 513.721.1513 at any time to get help creating your personalized plans to protect your autonomy in case of incapacity and to ensure your assets and loved ones are protected as well. Reach out today to get your plans in place so you are ready whenever tragedy might strike.