State Rep. John Rogers (D- Mentor-on-the-Lake) and Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) recently introduced House Bill (HB) 446, bipartisan legislation that would prevent third parties from refusing to honor power of attorney (POA) documents properly drafted under Ohio law.

“Currently, some institutions turn away a client who presents a durable power of attorney that is compliant with Ohio law,” said Rep. Rogers. “House Bill 446 adds commonsense consumer protections so that Ohioans who use their hard earned money to pay a lawyer to prepare power of attorney documents will no longer have to jump through additional and costly hoops to get what they already have."

A power of attorney document gives authority for someone to act on behalf of another in legal or financial matters. Elder law and estate planning attorneys commonly use POAs as a tool to plan for the incapacity of their clients. Rogers introduced HB 446 after a constituent had a power-of-attorney document rejected despite being drafted in accordance with Ohio law.

“In keeping with our desire to cut unnecessary and duplicative red tape in business transactions, this bill will eliminate the need for citizens to pay for two POA’s when only one is needed,” said Rep. Seitz. “Pride of authorship is an insufficient reason to reject a POA that was properly prepared by a different Ohio attorney.”

Under HB 446, failure to accept a properly drafted POA would result in sanctions to the dishonoring institution for reasonable attorney fees and costs to confirm or mandate the acceptance of the properly prepared and executed document.

House Bill 446 is awaiting assignment to a committee in the House for further consideration.

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