In 2021, the Oklahoma Uniform Power of Attorney Act went in effect, inadvertently repealing the Oklahoma statutory provisions allowing for the execution of a durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions. However, this past Oklahoma legislative session saw the resurgence of Oklahoma’s healthcare power of attorney provisions. Senate Bill 1596, also known as the Oklahoma Health Care Agent Act, provides Oklahomans the ability to execute a healthcare power of attorney and name an agent to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the individual. The Act is codified at 63 Okla. Stat. §§ 3111.1 – 3111.13.
A health care power of attorney goes into affect when an individual (called the principal) no longer has capacity (usually for physical or mental reasons) to make health care decisions for themselves. The health care power of attorney is activated when the principal determines it should be activated, but only when it is stated in the health care power of attorney. The health care power of attorney remains in effect for the life of the principal, even if the principal later becomes incapacitated.
The agent is designated to make decisions on behalf of the principal as long as the decisions align with any instructions included in the health care power of attorney and in the interests of the principal. The healthcare decisions a principal may make under the new healthcare power of attorney include:
- Selecting and discharging healthcare providers and facilities
- Consent to or refusal of any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or otherwise affect a physical or mental condition.
- The ability to sign a do-not-resuscitate consent following the provisions of the Oklahoma Do-Not-Resuscitate Act.
The new healthcare power of attorney does not allow the agent to make any life sustaining treatment decisions on behalf of the principal. The new healthcare power of attorney act includes a provision executed between the time of the lapse of the previous statutes to the enaction of the new act will be considered valid as long as they comply substantially with the provisions of the new act. The new healthcare power of attorney has to be signed by the principal and two other witnesses over the age of 18 who are not devisees, legatees, or heirs at law of the principal. Finally, the new healthcare power of attorney no longer has to be notarized to be considered valid.
Life can happen at any moment and it is important to stay updated on law changes when it concerns the health and well-being of you and your loved ones. Having a healthcare power of attorney is a smart thing to have in case of a medical emergency, and the attorney at Skillern Law Firm, PLLC can help plan for your future and put your loved one’s minds at ease. Call our office at to speak to our attorney today!