Power of attorney forms may be found on the internet from various sources.  For example, in the State of Ohio has a statutory form power of attorney as part of its statutory code.  For Ohio residents, ProSeniors is another organization that has downloadable statutory form power of attorney forms online – these do not include health care power of attorney terms. Lawhelp Interactive provides an interactive online process that will generate an Ohio power of attorney form for Ohio residents for free.

Each state has its own rules about what a valid power of attorney needs.  You will need to think through where the person to whom you are giving your power of attorney lives.  Is it possible that you may be located in another state should your agent take over your well-being and care? Would your child move you in with them to take care of you? Keep in mind this point if you are working from a form rather than working with an attorney.

By signing the power of attorney form, your power of attorney is effective in Ohio.  If you want to give health care decision-making powers (aka health-care power of attorney), then you must sign (1) in front of 2 witnesses (caution: not anyone can be a witness) or (2) in front of a notary.

You Should Sign In Front Of A Notary – It is recommended that you sign in front of a notary rather than using just signing or just in front of witnesses.  This is due to requirements in Ohio for selling real property using a power of attorney document (the power of attorney form must also be recorded if used in a real estate transaction).  Your power of attorney paperwork will have the presumption that your signature is valid if you sign in front of a notary.  To find a notary near you, you can search on the American Association of Notaries, call your local bank to see if they have a notary or check with a local attorney.

If the person you want to hold your power of attorney does not live in Ohio, the state where they live may only recognize a power of attorney form with a notary signature AND witness signatures.  So, consider signing your power of attorney form in front of 2 witnesses and a notary.  It is recommended that if your situation involves multiple states, that you seek the help of an attorney.

When to Sign – Your signature is done in front of the witnesses and/or the notary.  You should not be signing the document and then taking the document to witnesses/notary for them to sign.  You should not be signing the document after the witnesses/notary sign the document. The order of signatures is important for your power of attorney.

If You Sign with 2 Witnesses – Understand who is eligible to be a witness.  Remember in Ohio, a statutory form power of attorney only needs to be signed.  If you need the power of attorney for real estate, it needs to be notarized.  If you statutory form power of attorney includes powers for making health care decisions on your behalf, then you may use 2 witness signatures instead of a notary in Ohio.  Other states’ laws may differ, so, please check or contact an attorney for help.

Are you Witnesses Eligible? – A person is eligible to be a witness in Ohio for healthcare power of attorney documents if they are an adult (18 years or older) and are eligible.    People who are not eligible as witnesses include (1) people related to you by blood, (2) people related to you by marriage, (3) people related to you by adoption, (4) any person who is designated as your health care power of attorney (also called your attorney-in-fact) or (5) any person who designated as an alternate health care power of attorney.  Again, other state laws may differ on who is an eligible witness.

Having an effective power of attorney will be dependent upon how your power of attorney is signed and who is watching you sign.  Most power of attorney paperwork is needed only after you no longer have the ability to make any changes to your power of attorney.  It is very important that you understand the rules to property create an effective power of attorney for your situation and avoid future issues for your agent.  If you need help, please do not hesitate to contact an attorney near you to help you with creating a power of attorney that fulfills your state’s requirements.

November 13, 2018

Disclaimer: Note content of this blog post (“post”) is accurate as of the date of writing; laws change frequently and readers should not rely upon the online information.  The reader should seek the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from LRGrunzinger Law Office or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.