Why Did Oklahoma Get Rid of Healthcare Power of Attorney?

S_frange-batch01-03352A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that permits a person to grant the authority to another person to make decisions about their medical care. A “healthcare power of attorney” refers to both a legal document and a specific person with legal authority.

Some big changes to Oklahoma's health care power of attorney recently took effect.  Oklahomans are now unable to appoint someone to carry their health care wishes, if they're not able to themselves.

News Channel 8 in Tulsa’s recent article entitled “Oklahoma eliminates health care power of attorney” says that this is a fundamental change to the way patients are able to express their wishes. The change comes after House Bill 2548 passed earlier this year.

The bill establishes the state’s new Uniform Power of Attorney Act. The legislation is designed to align Oklahoma’s power of attorney laws more closely with those of 30 other states, and to ease complications when health care decisions need to be made out of state.

This leaves Oklahomans with limited options. They still have some other documents, but these aren't quite as easy to use and have some other strings attached. One of these is Oklahoma's Advance Directive form, which could be used as a work around, in getting someone to be your decision-maker. However, this document doesn't hold as much power.

Note that Oklahomans with a prior existing durable power of attorney will not have it voided by the new law. Any durable power of attorney agreement entered into between the passage of the new law and when it goes into effect on November 1 will also remain in legal effect. However, any durable power of attorney agreement entered into after November 1st will be considered invalid for healthcare purposes.

Ask an experienced estate planning attorney about a healthcare power of attorney in your state. In addition, inquire about an Advance Directive, as well as a last will.

You can also designate somebody to be the guardian in your last will. If you required a guardian, you've expressed your wishes and if someone needs to take control, you're telling the court who you want to be the decision maker on that.

A guardian can also be named to care for any minor children you may have.

Reference: News Channel 8 (Tulsa) (Nov. 4, 2021) “Oklahoma eliminates health care power of attorney”

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