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Why Having A Durable Power Of Attorney Matters

Age, illness or an accident are all reasons why someone might become incapacitated or unable to take care of their own financial and personal well-being. At Postic & Bates, our estate planning lawyers can help you establish proper durable powers of attorney for health care and finances so you are protected in case of any unexpected event.

Why 'Durable' Is The Key Word

A power of attorney is a document that allows another person to make decisions or act on your behalf. The person named in a power of attorney document is typically called an agent or an attorney in fact. To be an attorney at law requires a law license, but anyone can be an attorney in fact.

Simple/common law power of attorney allows another person to act for you only as long as you are competent to act. Here is an example: If you are overseas on business, your agent or attorney in fact can write checks on your behalf. But if you had a stroke and couldn't do anything, the common law power of attorney would no longer be effective.

A "durable" power of attorney remains effective even if you become incapacitated, because it contains required statutory language. Any power of attorney, durable or common law, terminates at death.

Durable Power Of Attorney For Health Care

Most married people assume their spouses have the right to make medical decisions for them if they are incapacitated, but that is an incorrect assumption.

Without a durable power of attorney, health care professionals will make those decisions. It is crucial that this document contains the proper Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) language or your spouse might not even be able to review your medical records.

A durable power of attorney for health care is a power you give someone else, such as a spouse or an adult child. A durable power of attorney gives the person you name the authority to:

  • Hire and fire doctors
  • Consent to surgery
  • Move you in or out of a hospital, nursing home or assisted living center
  • Make all medical decisions (other than end-of-life decisions, for which your agent needs an advance health care directive or living will)

Durable Power Of Attorney For Finances

A financial power of attorney can be general in form, meaning the person named can do anything you could have done, such as sign checks for you, sign deeds and transfer titles. A financial power of attorney can also be very specific, such as naming someone to act as your agent in a real estate transaction to sign paperwork for closing.

Call Us For A Free Initial Consultation

Schedule a free initial consultation by calling our office in Oklahoma City at 405-814-6524, toll free at 800-575-6838 or sending us an email.

We also offer a free estate planning guide to help you answer questions. Download your copy here.

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