In answering this question, it is more beneficial to explain what a power of attorney does so that you will understand fully why you should never get an Oklahoma power of attorney from an office supply store. A power of attorney is a legal document used by an individual (the principal) to grant certain legal rights to act on his or her behalf to another individual (the agent). Powers of attorney may be very specific (i.e. naming a power of attorney for a real estate closing for one parcel of property) or very general (i.e. naming someone as your durable power of attorney to act on your behalf even after you become incapacitated). Because you are giving someone the right to act on your behalf, buying an Oklahoma power of attorney from an office supply store is never a good idea.
What Are Some Examples of the Different Types of an Oklahoma Power Of Attorney?
There are several different types of powers of attorney, which makes buying a “cookie cutter” form from an office supply store very dangerous. Examples of the types of powers of attorney that you can use include:
- Limited Power of Attorney – Gives someone the authority to act on your behalf with regard to a specific financial matter (i.e. a real estate closing).
- General Power of Attorney – Allows the person you appoint to do anything that you could legally do yourself with regard to your assets and your debts. It typically allows the person appointed to buy, sell, mortgage, lease or dispose of your property in any manner that you could do if you were acting on your own behalf.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Grants the same powers as a general power of attorney but continues to remain in force after the principal has become incapacitated.
- Durable Medical Power of Attorney – Allows someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
- Limited Financial Durable Power of Attorney – Limits the financial tasks that the person may do on behalf of the principal. For example, you may want your power of attorney to pay your bills if you are unable to do so but not have the authority to sell or mortgage your property.
Contact a Tulsa Attorney to Draft Your Oklahoma Power of Attorney
Because an Oklahoma power of attorney can grant extremely broad, even unlimited, powers to another person, you should always consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in Tulsa to discuss your legal options before signing a power of attorney. Many of the DIY powers of attorney that you find in an office supply store or online give agents the broadest possible authority with very few, if any, limitations. Unfortunately, some agents may use this authority for their own financial benefit instead of protecting the best interests of the principal.
On the other hand, if you purchase an Oklahoma power of attorney that does not have the correct “durable” language, your agent may not be able to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated which is one of the main reasons that most people execute a power of attorney. In order for a power of attorney to withstand an attack by another individual, you must be sure that the power of attorney includes specific language that the powers granted will not terminate upon the principal becoming incapacitated.
Lastly, Oklahoma power of attorney forms purchased at office supply stores or found online may not be legal in Oklahoma. These forms are “cookie cutter,” one-size-fits-all forms that try to incorporate the laws of each state. In doing so, some forms fail to meet the legal requirements of some states. Trying to make an office supply store power of attorney “fit” your specific situation may result in the document being invalid or you may grant powers that you did not intend to bestow on the agent.
Powers of attorney are a very useful estate planning tool for couples as well as parents and children. It allows you to appoint someone you trust to handle your affairs should you be unable to do so for whatever reason. It is a worthwhile investment to hire an estate planning attorney to draft your power of attorney.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Tulsa
When you need the services of an experienced estate planning attorney, call Oklahoma Will & Trust. Tulsa Estate Attorney Earl D. Lawson has the experience and knowledge to assist you with all of your estate planning and probate needs. As a skilled Tulsa estate planning attorney, Earl D. Lawson knows the advantages of protecting your estate and ensuring that your wishes are followed.
Contact an experienced Tulsa estate planning attorney today for a free consultation about the best approach to protecting your legacy. Call (918) 876-4500 to schedule your free consultation. We are conveniently located at 201 W. Fifth Street, Suite 404 in Tulsa, OK.