LegalAidOK.org

Powers of Attorney

Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. LSC Funded
Read this in:
Spanish / Español

Information

A document that speaks for you when you can't speak for yourself.

Caution
This is a very powerful tool and important decision. Very carefully choose your agent, the person who will act on your behalf.
 

A POWER OF ATTORNEY IS...

  • Sometimes called a POA or DPOA (Durable Power of Attorney)
  • A written, legal document
  • Your legal authorization for someone else to act on your behalf.
  • A chance to preserve your voice, make your wishes known, when you can't speak for yourself.
  • Valid until cancelled, until an expiration date or until you die.
  • Simple or complex, depending on your circumstances and wishes.
  • Not the same as a guardianship, which requires going to court, a finding of necessity and court supervision of the guardian.
  • Still needed even if you have a health care proxy, which are only good for persistently unconscious and vegetative states and for the immediate needs of the situation.

Terms to Know...
 

  • Principal - The person who gives or authorizes another person to act on his behalf.
  • Agent-The person to who the power is given, the person acting on your behalf. Sometimes an agent is called an "attorney in fact."

Types of POA's

  • Simple POA
    • Signed in front of a notary public
    • Automatically ends when the principal dies or becomes mentally incompetent
  • Durable POA
    • Signed in front of two witnesses and a notary public
    • Automatically ends when the principal dies
    • Does not end if the principal becomes mentally incompetent
  • Springing POA
    • Signed in front of two witnesses and a notary public
    • Automatically ends when the principal dies or is no longer under a disability
    • Does not go into effect UNTIL the principal becomes incompetent or is unable to speak for himself
    • A doctor determines competency, but in the POA you can establish a test to guide the doctor.
    • Does not allow the power to be used until the principal is unable to conduct business for himself
    • Is most useful for seniors or someone facing a serious illness
    • May be combined with a Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care or Business affairs POA
    • Signed in front of two witnesses and a notary public
    • Automatically ends when the principal dies
    • Does not end if the principal becomes mentally incompetent
    • For a limited purpose or circumstance

Examples of when to use a POA

  • When parents  must leave their children with relatives or others for a period of time and a consent to medical care is needed.
  • When a spouse cannot be present at a real estate closing.
  • When an older person may wish a relative to conduct business for them.
  • When a spouse will be out of town for a period of time and the other spouse may need to bring a lawsuit or enter into a contract.
  • When faced with a serious illness and the possibility of a period of not being able to conduct business.
  • When faced with a serious illness and you want someone to make medical decisions based on your instructions.
  • When planning for your senior years.
Last Review and Update: Apr 10, 2013
LiveHelp

Looking for a LiveHelp operator...