The magical, nearly mystical return of the Oklahoma Health Care Power of Attorney

Almost as quickly as it exited Oklahoma law, the Oklahoma health care power of attorney recently reappeared, albeit under a different statute number.  Below is the backstory about this elusive document which provides a valuable right.

The old law
Until November 1, 2021, Oklahoma law allowed people to make a power of attorney to address health care issues (e.g., talking to a doctor, agreeing to treatment, dealing with medications etc. . .). In the halcyon days of the Oklahoma Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act, a person could give another person or people the ability to make a variety of health care decisions (Follow this link for a view of the previous POA statute).  The Health Care POA was useful and necessary because it covered a range of health care and medical decisions up to the end-of-life decisions that are instead made in an Oklahoma Advance Directive.  While a general power of attorney does cover primarily financial and personal decisions, it does not cover health care decisions.

The new law not covering health care
In 2021, the Oklahoma Legislature enacted a new Uniform Power of Attorney Act under Title 58 O.S. sec. 3001 et. seq.  This Act allows a person to make a power of attorney covering a wide range of decisions but stops short of health care decisions.  At the same time, the Oklahoma Legislature repealed the Uniform Durable Power of Attorney Act (Note: If you did a power of attorney under the Act prior to November 1, 2021, it remains valid under Oklahoma law).  So, following the flurry of power of attorney-related legislation, Oklahomans could do a power of attorney covering most personal decisions but not health care.

This was a problem.  Health care powers of attorney have been around for years and people routinely relied on the document to cover medical and health care decisions.  In the absence of the ability to do a health care power of attorney, there was a substantial void.  From my perspective, the Oklahoma Legislature tried to improve how powers of attorney were handled but somewhere in the process it forgot about health care.

The solution
Fear not, however, because it wasn’t long until the void was mostly filled:  The 2022 Oklahoma Legislature enacted a new Act that covered health care powers of attorney, known as the “Oklahoma Health Care Agent Act”, Title 63 O.S> sec. 3111.1 et seq.  The Health Care Agent Act, effective April 29, 2022, restored most of the options and rights Oklahomans need to do a health care power of attorney.

So, with the dust having settled, Oklahomans can once again make both a power of attorney for general matters and a health care power of attorney. 

Schedule an appointment with us today to create or update your Power of Attorney documents (405-562-7371). 

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."