What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney gives someone (called your “attorney-in-fact”) the ability to act for you in certain situations. You can limit this authority in scope, e.g., a single transaction, or it can be broad, e.g., all healthcare and financial decisions.
We prepare two types of power of attorney: one for financial purposes and one for health care purposes. Usually, we recommend a very broad financial power of attorney allowing someone to do everything that you could do so they take care of you if you become incapacitated.
A health care power of attorney is one of the most important estate planning documents you can have. Most married people assume that their next-of-kind can make decisions for them if they are incapacitated, but the law does not always make that assumption.
Without a power of attorney containing the proper HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) language, your spouse or other designated representative might not even be able to review your medical records.
Why should my Power of Attorney be “durable”?
Traditionally, a power of attorney was effective only as long as the person who made it was competent; if you became incompetent, your power of attorney was no longer valid.
Oklahoma law now provides that a power of attorney can include language allowing a power of attorney to remain effective even if the person who made the appointment is no longer competent. The power of attorney endures through your incapacity.
Since the primary benefit of a power of attorney is that it allows someone to act for you in the event you cannot act for yourself, failing to make a power of attorney durable can defeat the whole point of the document.
Learn more about estate planning
For more information about durable powers of attorney or other estate planning documents, contact the experienced Oklahoma City estate planning attorneys at Postic & Bates for a free, no-obligation consultation appointment.
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