A power of attorney is a legal document that allows an individual to appoint another person to act on their behalf in financial or medical affairs in the event they become incapacitated.
Oregon Revised Statutes dictate what makes a POA valid, who can or cannot serve as an agent, how the agent will carry out their duties for the principal, and when a POA begins and ends.
Types of Powers of Attorney in Oregon
A POA can be financial – allowing the agent to take care of financial matters, real estate or other business matters for the principal – or medical, allowing the agent to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal. When a medical POA is combined with a living will it becomes an advance directive.
If the agent’s tasks are limited in scope, the principal makes a specific power of attorney document. If the agent's power has no limits, the principal makes a general power of attorney document.
A principal can have more than one agent at the same time with different duties or authorize just one person to do everything. The principal can grant an agent the power to conduct tasks, such as:
- Real estate, banking, security or retirement plan transactions.
- Operating a business entity.
- Engaging in government benefits or tax matters.
- Engaging in personal or family maintenance.
Non-durable and Durable Powers of Attorney
A non-durable POA ends when the principal becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. When this happens, the court can designate a guardian to act on the principal’s behalf.
If there is no ending date for the POA, it is “durable,” meaning the agent’s authority continues in the event of the principal's incapacitation. Most people create durable POAs to allow another person to take control of their financial or health care decisions when they are no longer able to do so.
When Does a POA Go Into Effect?
When the principal designates another person to be their agent in a POA document, and the POA doesn’t contain a future start date, the POA becomes effective at the time it is executed and remains in effect until the principal dies or revokes it. The passage of time does not affect the agent’s powers.
The document’s terms can state that the POA will become effective at a specific time in the future, when a certain event occurs or when the principal becomes incapable.
If a POA's effectiveness hinges on a specific contingency or on an a future event, the document can designate another party to determine whether the contingency or event has taken place and the manner in which they will make this determination.
Financial POA Requirements in Oregon
For a financial POA to be valid, the principal must be mentally competent when creating and signing it. Oregon is one of the few states that does not require the principal to have witnesses or a notary public when creating and signing a financial POA.
However, a notarized document is more easily accepted by financial institutions and other businesses when the agent needs to interact with them.
Creating a POA Under Oregon State Laws
The principal should select a person they trust to act on their behalf should they become physically or mentally incapable. To create a valid POA, the principal may consult with an attorney or use templates they find online or software.
After completing it, the principal should safety store the original and give a copy to the agent, so that they are familiar with the principal’s directives.
A copy of the POA should be filed with the county recorder (or land records office) if the agent will be conducting real estate transactions on the principal's behalf. Any financial institutions the agent will deal with on behalf of the principal should also have a copy of the POA.
Medical POA Requirements
Medical POAs have different requirements under Oregon law than do financial POAs. Two witnesses must sign the documents, and it must be notarized.
Witnesses cannot be the principal’s attending physician; the employee of the attending physician; a health care facility owner, operator or worker where the principal is a patient; or a person under 18 years old, unless they are an emancipated minor.
Witnesses can be family members, a spouse, adult children or close friends. A medical POA goes into effect when the principal's doctor determines that the principal cannot speak or make decisions regarding medical treatment.
When Does a POA End in Oregon?
All Oregon POAs end with the death of the principal. They also end if the principal revokes it. A POA can be revoked any time by a mentally competent principal.
A POA can also end if a court invalidates it. The court may invalidate a POA for various reasons, such as mental incompetence of the principal when creating it, or the principal was a victim of undue influence or fraud.
The POA may also end if the agent is no longer available, such as if they have moved away or died. To prevent this from happening, the principal should name a successor agent in the POA.
- NOLO: Oregon Power of Attorney Laws
- Oregon Revised Statutes: ORS 127.005 When Power of Attorney in Effect
- Oregon Revised Statutes: ORS 127.515 Execution
- Oregon Revised Statutes: ORS 127.505 Definitions for ORS 127.505 to 127.660
- Oregon State Bar: Powers of Attorney and Other Decision-Making Tools
- FindLaw: Oregon Financial Power of Attorney
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.