Although Ohio law does not limit the age of a Power of Attorney (POA), financial
institutions often enforce their own rules about this document.
Unfortunately, because Ohio has no law requiring any business to accept a Power
of Attorney, some banks, financial institutions, and real estate closing agents
may refuse to accept a Power of Attorney due to its age.
Our staff has encountered the situation where a person was attempting to conduct a crucial
time-sensitive financial transaction on behalf of a loved one who was either out
of state or incapacitated, and the transaction was delayed because the financial
institution balked at accepting the Power of Attorney. Therefore, to avoid that
situation, you should periodically have your general durable power of attorney
updated. We suggest doing so every five years.
Another way to make your Power of Attorney more effective is to ensure that the
document contains alternate agents and also contains a clause that says that if
any alternate agent cannot serve, then an alternate agent can appoint another agent
for you. If your agent is not available or able to serve, such as if both a husband
and a wife are in a car crash and left unconscious, you want to make sure that you
have alternate agents listed in your Power of Attorney who can step in and sign
on your behalf, or make decisions, if need be.
Don't make the mistake of putting all of your eggs in one basket by appointing only
one person to be your agent in your POA. By doing this, you take the risk that
you may be in a crisis situation without anyone who has the legal authority to make important decisions on your behalf.
In a crisis situation where a Power of Attorney document does not exist and cannot be obtained, an emergency guardianship must be established through the probate court. A guardianship is a court proceeding that most everyone wants to avoid doing due to the exhorbitant fees involved with setting up and maintaining the guardianship and the annual accounting that the court requires to be filed under a guardianship.