Powers of Attorney


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

A Power of Attorney is:

  • Sometimes called a POA or a DDOA (Durable Designation of Agent)
  • A written, legal document.
  • Your legal authorization for someone else to act on your behalf, not over you!
  • A chance to preserve your voice and make your wishes known, for when you can't speak for yourself.
  • Effective until cancelled, revoked, it expires, a guardian is appointed over you, or you die.
  • Simple or complex, depending on the situation and your wishes.
  • Not the same as a guardianship! 
  • A guardianship 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.

Types of POAs

Simple POA
  • Signed in front of a notary public.
  • Effective immediately after signed.
  • Automatically ends when the principal dies, when a guardian is appointed over the principal, or when the principal becomes mentally incompetent, as determined by two physicians.
  • Always “Durable” unless the principal says it is not. Durable means that it does not end if the principal becomes mentally incompetent, unless taken over by a guardianship order.
Health Care POA
  • For Health Care it is called a Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA)
  • Signed in front of two witnesses and a notary public.
  • Automatically ends when the principal dies or taken over by a guardianship order.
  • If durable, does not end if the principal becomes mentally incompetent.
  • Can be general or for a limited purpose. 
  • Can take effect immediately or if you become incompetent.
  • Does NOT take the place of an Advance Directive.
“Springing" POA
  • When parents must leave their children with relatives or other caregivers for a period of time and those caregivers need to make medical or legal decisions for the children. 
  • When a person cannot be present at a real estate closing or there to conduct business.
  • When a person will be out of town for a period of time and may need to start a lawsuit or sign a contract.
  • When faced with a serious illness and the possibility of not being able to work.
  • When faced with a serious illness and you want someone to make medical decisions based on your instructions.
  • When planning for your senior years, possible incapacity, physical illness, or an emergency.


The agent simply attaches a copy of the POA to any document they are signing, then sign the document with your name, followed by their signature and the type of power. For example: “Mike Miller by Jean Miller, POA”. If using it in person, like at a bank, show the POA to the bank. NOTE: the institution may need time to review the POA before allowing any action to be taken. No person or institution is required to honor it.

You tell your agent that the power is revoked (or withdrawn), in writing, or by signing a revocation. It is best to get a written acknowledgement from the agent that they understand the power is revoked. You also need to send a copy of the revocation to all institutions which have a copy of the POA.

Your Power of Attorney should be honored outside of Oklahoma. It must be valid in Oklahoma and follow Oklahoma law. Check with a lawyer in that state to be sure.

No. The POA is your authorization for someone to act on your behalf, but people and organizations are not required to honor your wish. Many financial institutions and most federal agencies require their own DPOA forms. Some Oklahoma schools will NOT accept a POA or DPOA to enroll a child. 

If the POA or DPOA involves real estate, it must be filed with the County Clerk in the county the real estate resides. You may file a POA with the Court Clerk, but if this is done it becomes a public record.

Last Review and Update: Apr 18, 2023
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