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Why a durable power of attorney is so valuable to aging adults

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2023 | Estate Planning

Older adults preparing for retirement in Ohio often take time to plan their estates or update existing plans. Their resources and family relationships may have shifted in recent years, which could necessitate changes to their paperwork or give them the incentive they need to finally commit their plans to writing. 

One of the most useful inclusions for many testators in Ohio is the durable power of attorney. Although there are many different types of powers of attorney, durable documents are particularly useful for those considering their independence and support as they age. 

What does a durable power of attorney do? 

Like any other power of attorney document, a durable power of attorney designates an agent as attorney-in-fact to handle someone’s financial or medical needs. Powers of attorney take effect if the person who drafted the document experiences some kind of health issue that leaves them unable to communicate their own wishes. 

Some legal paperwork will lose its authority when an individual loses their testamentary capacity due to dementia or other debilitating health challenges. Durable powers of attorney retain their authority even when someone becomes permanently incapacitated. 

Durable powers of attorney essentially allow someone to choose their own guardian or conservator to manage their financial and medical affairs. Otherwise, anyone ranging from care professionals to family members could seek that  authority after someone’s incapacitation. 

Although not everyone needs durable powers of attorney as they age, the possibility of permanent incapacitation later in life makes drafting such documents a worthwhile endeavor. Adding the right paperwork to one’s estate plan can give people more confidence and peace of mind as they age.