Legal Services under the Older Americans Act
Pursuant to Oklahoma law and the Older Americans Act (OOAA), Aging Services’ Legal Services Developer provides statewide leadership to enhance the quality and quantity of legal services to individuals 60 years of age or older in Oklahoma. The Legal Services Developer offers consultation, technical assistance, information and referral, and training on legal issues to older Oklahomans and those who assist and advocate for them.
End-of-life Healthcare Issues (Advance Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney, DNR’s)
Property and Estate Issues (Wills, Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney, Joint Tenancy, POD’s, TOD’s)
Grandparents’ Raising Grandchildren
Advance Directives Forms
Forms are provided to assist in end of life planning. Consulting an attorney is the best way to ensure that a
person’s end of life needs are being met; however, individuals 60 years old and older may contact the Legal Service Developer with questions.
Legal Services under the Older Americans Act
Legal services, under Title III-B of the Older Americans Act (OAA), are provided through grants to the states authorized by the OAA. Aging Services distributes and oversees grant money for the services. Legal assistance protects older persons against challenges to their independence, choice, and financial security.
Aging Services contracts with 11 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) in Oklahoma to provide free legal services to older residents 60 years and older.
Area Agencies on Aging
In Oklahoma, legal services are provided to the AAAs through Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
These legal services are specifically targeted to “older individuals with economic or social needs.”
Legal assistance to older Oklahomans includes advanced directives, powers of attorneys, wills, debt, Social Security disability, eviction, consumer financial issues, estate planning, and grandparent issues, to name a few.
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma- 60+ Seniors
- AARP- Planning for Long-Term Care, Your Resource Guide
- Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma - Grandparents Visitation
- National Center on Elder Abuse Mistreatment of Latinx Older Adult
- National Center on Law and Elder Rights -Elder Abuse Guide
- Oklahoma Caregiver Coalition
- Oklahoma Human Services – Starting Points for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a person need an Advance Directive for Healthcare if he or she is young and healthy?
Yes, at a minimum, everyone over the age 18 needs an Advance Directive for Healthcare. The famous cases of Terri Schiavo and Nancy Cruzan both involved accidents when the women were young - under 30 years of age.
How does the anatomical gifts portion of the Advance Directive for Healthcare differ from a driver license designation as a donor?
The anatomical gifts provision allows for more details about the wishes of a person than the driver license designation.
Does the Advance Directive for Healthcare need to be notarized?
No. The Advance Directive for Healthcare only needs two witnesses who observe the person signing the document. The witnesses cannot inherit from nor be related to the person signing the Advance Directive for Healthcare.
Who can sign a DNR consent form?
Only the person, a guardian, an agent under a Durable Power of Attorney or health car proxy can sign the DNR form. However, a physician can certify that he or she knows by clear and convincing evidence that a person would not want to be resuscitated or that CPR would not prevent the imminent death of the person.
What happens if a person does not sign an Advance Directive for Healthcare or a Durable Power of Attorney (with Healthcare Powers Only) and certain medical decisions need to be made?
Under Oklahoma law, if a person does not have a proxy, an agent or a guardian, and certain medical decisions need to be made, healthcare professionals will look to other persons identified in law to make the decision. The list of those authorized to make decisions starts with a hierarchy of specific family members.
Does DHS provide a Durable Power of Attorney for Property?
No. A Durable Power of Attorney for Property addresses the authority an agent has regarding property, such as homes, land, bank accounts, credit cards, Certificates of Deposits, mineral interests, etc., usually if a person becomes incapacitated. DHS does not provide a form for that since it is a complex area of law.
Does a person lose any rights to control healthcare or property interests if he or she designates an agent under a Durable Power of Attorney and retains capacity?
No. A Durable Power of Attorney allows a trusted, designated person to exercise the rights that are provided in the document. That authority can be implemented immediately or upon incapacity. Even if the authority is immediate, the person does not lose any rights to control healthcare or property interests.
How can older Oklahomans protect against scams and fraud?
When a person dies, what property is subject to probate?
Any property that is passed by will or subject to intestacy laws must be probated. When a person has made no provisions for distribution of property after death, intestacy laws provide that the state will determine who will inherit the property.
What property is not subject to probate upon a person's death?
Property not subject to probate includes property with beneficiary designations (e.g. POD's or TOD's, beneficiary deeds, insurance, retirement accounts, certain annuities), property held in joint tenancy or property that is held in a trust.
Do grandparents have a right to visit their grandchildren?
The law presumes that parents know what is best for their children, including whom the children see. Therefore, grandparents do not have a right to visit their grandchildren. Grandparents may be permitted by the court to visitation under certain circumstances.