Residents of the trendy, Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, as well as other areas in Cincinnati, Ohio, may believe that they do not have to worry about estate planning; however, they may want to take a second look. Even those who are young and healthy now should be thinking about who will make decisions for them if they are no longer able to do so.
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows people to designate others to decide for them, especially as far as healthcare and financial decisions are concerned. It is a misconception that POAs are reserved only for older people, although many forward-thinking younger people have been setting them up as well. Most people do not care to think about becoming incapacitated, although accidents and sudden illness can occur at any age.
It is not necessary to have one individual be the POA for everything, and people can designate a different POA for each function. However, it may be confusing if one document lists several individuals serving as POAs in multiple capacities; therefore, some attorneys may advise that separate POAs are prepared. For example, one POA can be prepared for the individual who will have financial power while a separate document will be for whoever will have the authority to make healthcare decisions.
Limited POAs are an option for those who wish to be more specific. For example, people have the option to designate an individual to handle their personal checking accounts and another to handle their brokerage or IRA accounts. This may create a higher comfort level for the person assigning the POA because he may be more confident that those with the highest level of expertise are handling the appropriate tasks.
It is never too early for people to plan for a time when they may no longer be able to make their own decisions. An experienced estate planning attorney can help people set up powers of attorney as well as prepare any other documents, such as trusts and wills. He or she can explain various options best suited for them.