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What powers will a power of attorney have?

When an Oklahoma resident sets up an estate plan, a power of attorney is a crucial consideration. There are two kinds of powers of attorney that the average estate planner needs: a health care power of attorney and financial power of attorney. When drafting these documents, estate planners will designate the person who will serve as power of attorney over their affairs in the event of incapacitation or other stipulated circumstances, but what kinds of powers are typically included in these documents?

A health care power of attorney authorizes a specified individual to make health-related decisions on your behalf. Usually, this person can grant or deny consent for specific medical treatments. He or she can also choose the medical facility, doctors and medical personal that will treat you. This person will also decide how your body is to be treated following death, including questions relating to organ donation, and he or she will have visitation rights and full access to your medical documents. Estate planners who have specific feelings on any of these decision points must include those wishes in their power of attorney and estate documentation.

When it comes to financial powers of attorney, the power of attorney will have the authority to pay your bills, taxes and medical expenses out of your accounts. The person will also be in charge of managing your property, including real estate and financial accounts. Further, the person can transfer and sell your assets, and make investments on your behalf. All of these acts must be carried out in observance of a fiduciary duty to the person making the power of attorney.

Since the decision areas covered by powers of attorney are so important, it is necessary that your power of attorney be someone you fully trust and respect to make wise decisions on your behalf. As such, Oklahoma residents will want to consider their power of attorney's mental and physical capacity to serve in this capacity. They may also want to name one or two alternates to serve as power of attorney in the event that something happens to the original individual they choose.

Source: FindLaw, "Help a Loved One Make a Power of Attorney", Accessed on April 1, 2015

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