An Oklahoma Advance Directive lets residents formally establish their health care preferences in writing. In a situation (like a medical emergency) where they’re unable to communicate those preferences, this legal document tells medical personnel which actions to take (like whether to resuscitate them or not).
1. What Is an Oklahoma Advance Directive?
An Advance Directive allows you to outline specific instructions for your care in the state of Oklahoma if you become incapacitated and thus incapable of declaring your preferred medical treatment. You can use this form to highlight your wishes regarding artificially-administered nutrition and other potential life-sustaining treatments.
Your Advance Healthcare Directive also allows you to designate an agent or agent, who will then be responsible for making critical healthcare decisions if you ever become unable to independently. Furthermore, you can specify whether you would like to donate your organs in the event of your death.
As you draft and complete your form, you may see these critical terms:
- Attending physician: The medical professional who is primarily responsible for the patient. It would be best to inform the attending physician of your advance health care directive for it to become valid.
- Declarant: The person who issues the document. If you create this document, you are the declarant.
- Qualified patient: Any adult patient who has executed an Advance Directive for health care in Oklahoma is determined to be incapacitated. If you complete the form and become unable to make informed decisions about your healthcare, you will be referred to as a qualified patient at that time.
- Life-sustaining treatment: Any healthcare procedure that serves exclusively to extend the process of dying rather than provide a permanent cure for the patient.
- Terminal condition: An irreversible health problem that will lead to the qualified patient’s death within six months according to the attending physician and at least one additional doctor.
These and other relevant terms are outlined in Title 63, Section 3101.3 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
2. Who Should Have an Advance Directive for Health Care in Oklahoma?
If you’re an OK resident with a desire to control your future, you are a perfect candidate for an advance health care directive for health care. This document is of great value to any adult residing in this state, regardless of health or marital status.
An Advance Directive is often completed in response to one or more of the following life events:
- Career transition
- Diagnosis with an illness or condition
- Diagnosis of a loved one
- Being asked to act as an agent for somebody else’s advance health care directive
- Having children or grandchildren
- Getting married or divorced
Minimum requirements for completing an advance directive in Oklahoma include being 18 years old and of sound mind. If you fit this description, there is no reason not to complete this essential component of end-of-life planning.
As soon as you sign your Advance Decision form, you will enjoy greater confidence in your future. Should the worst-case scenario arise, this document ensures that you receive the quality of care you deserve.
3. How to Select Your Agent(s)
In Oklahoma, your agent sometimes referred to as a “health care proxy”, will receive considerable authority over your medical care as soon as you designate them in your Advance Directive form and once you’ve been declared incapacitated. Given the scope of this responsibility, you must choose your agent carefully.
Key factors that you should consider when making this decision include:
- Maturity. Your agent is legally required to be at least 18 years old. However, age alone should not determine whether a particular person is suitable. Some people can handle the responsibilities of this job at a young age, while others are never equipped to bear this emotional burden.
- Personal convictions. What are your agent’s beliefs regarding end-of-life care? Could they violate their own beliefs if instructed in your Advance Directive? While you and your agent need not agree on every matter, you should at least feel confident that this person will carry out your wishes.
- Financial interests. Oklahoma prohibits anybody who stands to gain financially from acting as a witness for your Advance Health Care Directive. The same principle can also be applied to your agent. People generally prefer to select agents who will not be impacted by the financial implications of this document but are legally permitted to do so if they so choose.
4. Which Decisions Can Your Agent(s) Make On Your Behalf?
Depending on your situation and stated preferences in your Advance Healthcare Directive, your agent may take the following actions on your behalf:
- Secure access to relevant medical records.
- Approve the use of various medications or procedures. Admit you to or withdraw you from a particular medical facility.
Your health care agent is permitted to make these and other decisions as soon as the attending physician has determined that you cannot make informed choices.
The more specific your language is in your Oklahoma Advance Directive, the better. If, however, you fail to provide specific details, your agent will need to use their best judgment based on what they believe you would want. Your agent is expected to abide by your stated wishes regardless of influence by other people.
Note, however, that Title 63, Section 3101.2 of the Oklahoma Statutes clearly states that your agent’s decision-making powers do not extend to assisted suicide — nor can plans for euthanasia be outlined in a valid Advance Directive.
5. What to Do If You Change Your Mind
It is possible — and not particularly difficult — to change or revoke your Advance Directive for Health Care in Oklahoma.
Revocation often occurs in response to:
- A divorce or other life-changing event.
- The original agent no longer being willing to or capable of fulfilling their role.
- An evolving stance on end-of-life care by the declarant.
If you choose to revoke your Advance Directive, you can do so by destroying the original document. Title 63, Section 3101.6 of the Oklahoma Statutes differs from most other states in that revocation of a form may take place at any time by the declarant — regardless of their current mental or physical condition.
Creating and executing a new advanced health care directive will also revoke your previous one.
Your revocation will become effective once your physician has been notified. Otherwise, a witness to your revocation will need to tell your physician for you.
6. How to Complete Your Oklahoma Advance Directive
Once drafted, take a moment to review your Advance Directive and ensure it accurately reflects your wishes regarding end-of-life care. If you feel confident with your finalized document, sign it in the company of two witnesses. These individuals should be at least 18 years old and should not be listed as beneficiaries in your last will and testament.
Use a General Power of Attorney form to empower your agent to make non-medical decisions on your behalf (such as financial transactions).
Your form will ultimately prove well worth the effort. Don’t hesitate to get started on this essential estate planning form today.
Does an Advance Directive need to be notarized in Oklahoma?
No, an Advance Directive created in Oklahoma does not need to be notarized to go into effect. However, we would recommend the use of a notary