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Power of Attorney in Oklahoma City

Executing a Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a written authorization to act on another's behalf in their financial or medical affairs. The person authorizing the other to act is referred to as the principal and the one authorized to act is the agent or attorney-in-fact. In Oklahoma, one can execute a durable power of attorney for property or financial matters or for personal or medical care.

Under the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act, a durable power of attorney should be signed by the principal, signed by two witnesses who are at least 18 years old and not related to the attorney-in-fact by blood or marriage, and notarized. Some of the common powers included in a durable power of attorney include:

  • Banking
  • Managing property
  • Applying for government benefits
  • Dealing with insurance
  • Making health care decisions for the principal
  • Make decisions about the principal's living arrangements
  • Electing hospice treatment
  • Handling tax matters

In the power of attorney, the principal decides when the document is to become effective. For example, the principal can decide that it is to go into effect immediately and shall continue until its revoked, or he or she can decide that it will be effective when their attending physician determines they no longer have the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Why do I need a power of attorney?

Durable powers of attorney for health care and finances are essential estate planning documents. Since no one can predict when they will become injured or ill, it's important to have elected an attorney-in-fact, someone that you trust to handle your finances and health care decisions if you become incapacitated. With a financial power of attorney, you get to name a trusted person to pay your bills, manage investments, make deposits and handle all of your financial matters on your behalf.

With a health care power of attorney, you can elect someone to make decisions regarding important medical care decisions on your behalf. Since health care and finances are of a highly personal nature, it's essential to select someone that is trustworthy and that you know will act in your best interests when they are called upon to act.

Without such documents in place, you will have no voice over who will handle these areas when you're incapable of doing so for yourself. Since we cannot predict when we will be subject to an accident, illness or disease, it's better to create these documents sooner than later regardless of age or net worth.

To speak with our Oklahoma City estate planning lawyer, Elizabeth A. Richards, in a free consultation, please call (405) 788-4662 today.

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