Many people in the Toledo area have probably used a durable power of attorney to name a loved one or other trusted person as their attorney-in-fact.
In Ohio, an attorney-in-fact, which the law also calls a person agent, has a lot of power.
Unless it is limited in some way, the agent will have complete access to a person’s bank accounts and other finances, and they also have the authority to conduct business and handle property on the person’s behalf.
Usually, this arrangement proves quite helpful, especially if the person cannot handle his finances on his own anymore.
However, sadly, sometimes an attorney-in-fact will abuse his position and start taking money and property for his own purposes, sometimes without authority to do so.
In other cases, the agent me mean well enough but make lots of careless mistakes that cost a family a lot of money.
Of course, if the person who created the power of attorney is competent to do so, she may always simply fire the agent by revoking the power of attorney.
In other cases, though, interested parties, including a court-appointed guardian, may have to go to the appropriate court and ask a judge for an order to remove the attorney-in-fact.
In order to have the attorney-in-fact removed, the person will need to show that she violated Ohio’s laws. Behavior like self-dealing, acting outside the authority given in the power of attorney, and even serious but honest mismanagement of property can be grounds for removal.
On a similar note, an agent who acts in violation of the law, and causes financial damage as a result, is liable to repay the person’s estate out of her own funds. She may also be ordered to reimburse for attorney fees and costs. Other legal options may be available.