My wife and I are in our high 80's. What is the function of this service with regards to the control of our finances when one of us dies. Our current situation is that everything in our estate is held jointly with the one surviving to control the assets. Should this power of attorney be granted access to our joint checking account while we are both still able to control these assets?
We have a power of attorney document drawn up in another state. Should I hire a local attorney to advise me on something like this.
Yes you should. Ohio's power of attorney statute was amended in a fairly significant way effective March 22nd so I'm not sure how an old POA written under the laws of another state will be interpreted or applied in your case. As explained by my colleague, a power of attorney is a document under which you give someone else the authority to take actions in your name. The POA can be limited to specific acts (like writing checks on your checking account to pay your bills) or it can be very broad and include every act that you could do yourself. The latter type of power of attorney can also be dangerous because you are giving someone the authority to do anything with your assets, including giving them away. IAll of this notwithstanding, a power of attorney is not effective after the maker dies and so it does not give anyone access to your accounts after your death. If your accounts are currently held jointly between you and your spouse, on the death of one of you the other will become the sole owner of the account. In that case, the survivor will have immediate access to the funds in the account to pay bills, living expenses, etc. Overall, I think you would benefit from a meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney in your area to take a look at the documents you have and be sure that you have everything you need in place. In Ohio, health care power of attorney is granted in a separate document and that is very important to insure that someone has authority to make health care decisions for you in the event you are not able to do so. Please feel free to call me if you would like to discuss this further. (614) 220-5129. Thank you for your question.
This response contemplates only the laws of Ohio and is not intended to apply to other jurisdictions. None of the information in this response should be used or relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion about specific matters, facts, situations or issues. Viewing it does not establish an attorney-client relationship between you and Sherrille D. Akin, the law firm of Isaac, Brant, Ledman & Teetor LLP, or any of its individual attorneys
A power of attorney is a document that assigns to another the authority to act in your behalf. It does not terminate your authority or right to act in your own behalf, but it allow the named person the authority to take actions regarding your assets and affairs, as if it were done by you. This can be very helpful if you are unable to perform certain actions anymore - such as signing checks or other documents, collecting rents from tenants, etc. However, it is also dangerous because the person with the POA can transact in your name, without you knowing about it. Ohio has tightened its laws regarding POAs.
The best thing that you can do is to contact a attorney and discuss your "estate plan' with them. You do not need to have a fortune to have an estate plan. Its purpose is to taylor a plan to your individual circumstances that deals with issues such as managment of your person and estate in the event you (or your spouse) become disabled, ill or die. It reviews options for the handling of various contingencies and should develop the most efficient method for dealing with these issues. This may involve a will, a POA, a health care POA, a living will, joiint-tenancy, transfer of death designations, trusts, and the like. Not all of these things are correct in every case - that is why you consult with an attorney - the documents can be obtained at a library or on the internet - the advise as to what you need and why is the invaluable part of the process. You should be able to locate a qualified attorney through Avvo or the Licking County Bar Association.
IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: Mr. Piper's response set forth above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Mr. Piper's responses to all questions posted on AVVO are intended to provide general information based upon the his understanding of the facts stated in the question, and are for the general educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual. Also, a particular case may involve additional facts and circumstances which might invalidate some or all of the concepts provided in this answer and therefore you should not rely upon this answer in any individual situation. In order to offer legal advice about this or any similar situation, a qualified attorney would likely need to consider many factors not stated in the question and would need to question the potential client in order to clarify the specific facts operable in that case. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, it is recommended that you contact an attorney in your state. Mr. Piper is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio, and may be contacted directly via email at: [email protected]
In days gone by, the biggest estate planning issue was "what happens when I die?" Today, because of longevity, the biggest concern is "what happens when I don't die?" It is one thing to have money. It is another thing to figure out who you trust to manage it--and you--if you become unable to do so. Your questions indicate you are not very confident in your "agent" under the power of attorney. There is a type of POA called a "springing power of attorney" because it springs into action upon the happening of a certain event such as incapacity. Such POAs are more cumbersome to use, but that may be a good thing in your case. You should definitely have an estate plan (Will, maybe a trust, power of attorney and health care care documents) created according to Ohio law. We have many Licking County clients. Feel free to call us.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline