Regarding Oklahoma’s New Power of Attorney

Regarding Oklahoma’s New Power of Attorney

On April 28, 2021, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed HB 2548, adopting the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) which modified how future powers of attorney needed to be drafted. On November 1, 2021, the UPOAA went into effect in the State.  While the statute indicates powers of attorney drafted prior to November 1, 2021, remain valid, a few key changes in the new Act may impact the utilization of powers of attorney previously drafted.  Under the new Act, the statute indicates the powers granted to the attorney-in-fact should be in substantial compliance with the statute.  We believe this indicates slight modifications may be made, but overall the power of attorney utilized should closely mirror the statutory power of attorney of 15 O.S. § 1003 et seq.  Initially, this led us to believe our clients that executed powers of attorney prior to November 1, 2021 did not necessarily need to execute a new power of attorney due to the fact the former documents were still valid.  However, as previously mentioned, the new power of attorney is very specific regarding the powers being granted or withheld.  More specifically, the second section details particular authorities as to whether the holder of the power of attorney may change beneficiaries on life insurance policies or IRAs or may add co-owners to a house or bank account on behalf of the individual.

Many previous Powers of Attorney did not specifically enumerate these powers.  As a result, institutions were often willing to take general powers of attorney and honor these types of specific requests.  However, what we are seeing is that now, institutions are often leery to allow these specific changes to be made with a general power of attorney knowing that there is a more specific power of attorney that explicitly either grants the individual the right or it does not.  Accordingly, we have seen situations arise where institutions are not honoring some of the older powers of attorney that generally state that the person could do anything that the principal could do. All of this is to say that if you have a power of attorney drafted prior to November 1, 2021, you likely need to have a new power of attorney drafted utilizing the new statutory language.  If you would like assistance please let us know.  While we generally like the new form, we do find there are still some things contained that are less agreeable and accordingly, we made some modifications to the power of attorney.

If you haven’t done so recently, it might be a good time to also look at your other estate planning documents.  If you have a trust, have you kept it funded?  If you bought a house did you make it subject to your trust?  If you opened new bank accounts did you make that or those accounts subject to the trust, list the trust as beneficiary, or list someone else as beneficiary?

We’re here to help!  If you need anything give us a call.

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