We are in the business of helping people prepare and plan for the inevitable, so every year we write an article advising our clients about what not to do when it comes to death and disability planning. The mistakes we have seen people make throughout the past 30 years we have been in practice have caused a lot heartache, stress, and money for our clients to correct.
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.
Financial institutions are becoming increasingly finicky about General Durable Power of Attorney (GDPOA) documents. The GDPOA documents that we write at Roberson Law are 11 pages long in order to cover all of the bases, yet there are instances when we are still asked to provide additional substantiation to a bank that a GDPOA is valid.
Are you getting divorced, obtaining a dissolution, or annulling your marriage? If so, then you should consider reevaluating your estate planning documents as soon as possible.
1) If your spouse died this year or you got divorced, you should update your estate planning documents in order to remove your former spouse's name as a beneficiary, agent, executor, and trustee.
Ohio Trust Law changed significantly effective January 1, 2007, when the Ohio Trust Code went into effect. Since that date, on numerous occasions, we have reminded our clients via snail mail, email, or in-person of this important date and suggested that serious consideration be made to update any trust that was dated before the Ohio Trust Code went into effect.
Clients frequently ask, "How can I avoid probate?" While some of the steps involve preparation of documents that only an attorney should prepare, there are some things that you can do yourself to avoid probate without an attorney's involvement. Following are a few suggestions:
Ken Jarosik from the Dayton Better Business Bureau (BBB) produced a video highlighting some of the features that separate Roberson Law from other businesses, including the factors that have contributed to the firm earning an A+ rating with the BBB. Nancy's interview was broadcast in a video that was shared with the Miami Valley on August 21, 2017.
Watch the video here.
We see a lot of families in our office who cannot assist their loved one who has Alzheimer's Disease or dementia with financial and health care matters because no one has the legal authority to act on behalf of the loved one. Often by the time the caregiver calls us, it is too late for us to help the loved one. This is because the mental capacity and cognition level of the loved one with Alzheimer's Disease or dementia have deteriorated too much for him or her to be able to sign any legal documents.
Ohio House Bill 432 recently went into effect and made some changes to Ohio's laws that are worth noting. Below are just a few highlights of this bill:
1. Ohio law previously allowed a surviving spouse to receive two automobiles valued at $40,000 or less without taking the vehicles through probate. Under the new law, a surviving spouse may now claim an unlimited number of vehicles having a total combined value of no more than $65,000.