There are three basic documents, along with a will or trust, recommended for individuals in Ohio: a financial or general durable power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, and a living will. Power of attorneys are only valid during your lifetime – they become null and void upon your death.
A financial or general durable power of attorney is a legal document in which you appoint someone to handle financial and/or other matters on your behalf. It needs to detail and be explicit about those matters. For example, if a person has a trust, your financial power of attorney must refer to you as both an individual and a trustee. All components of your estate plan should be addressed in a financial power of attorney to make certain the individual you’ve appointed can take care of all of your financial matters according to your wishes.
A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document in which you appoint someone to take care of health related matters on your behalf. For example, they can make medical decisions on your behalf and/or communicate your wishes to medical staff and other providers for you, should you become incapacitated due to illness or injury.
A living will is a legal document in which you make medical treatment preferences and/or end of life decisions in advance known, such as whether you wish to be kept alive and/or who to notify when you are about to pass away. A living will must be detailed and address privacy requirements so medical staff and other providers can accept them – especially in light of implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
A healthcare power of attorney and a living will are commonly known as healthcare directives in Ohio.