Prior to engaging in any form of estate planning, individuals in Oklahoma often do not realize that there are several differing types of Power of Attorney (POA). They are used for differing purposes and situations. However, the single definition of “a document that speaks for a person when he or she cannot speak for themselves” is universal. For this reason, it is essential that a person, referred to as the “principal”, make a careful, well thought-out decision as to whom will be appointed as their representing “agent.”
There are four types of Powers of Attorney. They are simple, durable, springing and health care or business. A simple POA immediately grants power to an agent to act on the principal’s behalf. It ends upon death of the principal, or upon determination of mental incompetency of the principal.
A durable POA is effective immediately. It does not end if the principal is declared mentally incompetent, but does end upon death of the principal.
A springing POA does not go into effect immediately. Instead, it “springs” into effect upon declaration of mental incompetency of the principal, or the inability of the principal to act on his or her own behalf. It ends upon death of the principal. This POA is different in that a physician can use a pre-determined test to declare competency, and it can be combined with a durable power of attorney.
A health care or business POA is only for a limited time or purpose, and ends upon death of the principal. It does not end if the principal is declared mentally incompetent.
An estate planning attorney can be invaluable in assisting a principal with determining which type of Power of Attorney is best for his or her situation.
Source: LegalAidOK.org, “Powers of Attorney,” Accessed Nov. 27, 2017