The title of this article is a common misconception that people have about avoiding probate. A person will assume that just because he has been designated as his parent's Agent in his parent's Power of Attorney (POA) that he will have access to his parent's bank account after the parent dies. The person will incorrectly assume that having his name listed on his parent's account will be enough to avoid probate.
As many of our clients already know, a comprehensive general durable power of attorney is an effective estate planning tool to authorize another person to act on one’s behalf in the event of disability or incapacity. In an effort to improve the usefulness of a power of attorney (“POA”), the laws regarding powers of attorney under the Ohio Revised Code were revised in March of 2012, in order to offer additional safeguards against abuse by the agent appointed in the POA and encourage third party acceptance.
According to the Alzheimer's Association statistics, in 2014, an estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease. One in nine people age 65 and older (11 percent) has Alzheimer's disease, and of those with Alzheimer's disease, the vast majority (82 percent) are age 75 or older. These startling statistics mean that there are millions of Americans who are in danger of not having the mental capacity to sign legal documents.
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.