Sarah Stewart Legal Group, PLLC

Caring, Honest, Solutions to Your Legal Needs at Affordable Rates.

Month: August 2016

Adoption Options

By Sarah Stewart Legal Group

I am often asked by couples looking to adopt what options are available to them within the State of Oklahoma.  Generally speaking, there are 3 ways couples can adopt.  I will speak briefly about these options, and the pros and cons of each, today.

(1) Adoption through the Department of Human Services

In Oklahoma, families can adopt through the Department of Human Services.  Though the Department will usually help pay for the adoption and offers post adoption services, the process can be a little challenging for families.  Families will have to go through classes, home studies, and other processes in order to adopt.  Additionally, depending on the family’s preference, there could be long waiting periods for a child to be placed.  There may also be emotional and physical disabilities with children adopted through DHS. However, the costs of DHS adoption are generally lowest for the family.

(2) Private Adoption (via an agency or personal acquaintance)

Private adoptions are more likely to take place among family members or private adoption agencies.  In these situations, families are generally more aware of the history of the children and the situations they come from.  However, there is a greater likelihood of the birth family changing their minds and the adoption falling through than with DHS adoptions.  Also, the costs are generally higher with adoption agencies, as there are placement fees.  Waiting periods can also be long, depending on the availability of birth families and their preferences of adoptive families.

(3) International Adoption

International adoption is the most complex and costly of all adoptions.  The adopting family generally works through and pays an agency for placement of an adoptive child.  These fees are usually higher than local adoption agencies.  The family must then complete adoption procedures overseas and readopt within the State of Oklahoma.  Adopting families will also need to look into citizenship procedures for their adoptive babies.

If you have more questions about adoption, please contact an attorney or adoption agency.

Who Needs a Durable Power of Attorney

By: Sarah C. Stewart

A durable power of attorney is a document that allows someone to choose another person to stand in his or her place for specified reasons.  Those reasons can include everything- medical and financial, just medical or financial, or even get extremely specific. A power of attorney does not allow the agent to overrule the person who signed the power of attorney.  As long as the signer has the ability to make decisions for himself or herself, the signer will always overrule the agent.  The signer can also terminate the power of attorney at any time.

Most people think that powers of attorney are only for the elderly.  That simply is not the case.  A durable power of attorney can go into effect immediately, or only when the signing party becomes incapacitated.  That means, if John, who’s 35, gets in a motorcycle accident tomorrow and goes into a coma, if he has a durable power of attorney in place, a loved one can make decisions for him tomorrow.  Or, if Mary, who’s 20, goes out of the country to study abroad with school, her attorney-in-fact can pay her bills for her while she is gone.

So, really, a durable power of attorney is a tool every adult needs.  It is a tool that can help any adult plan for the unexpected circumstances that happen in our day to day lives.

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