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How To Make a Power of Attorney in Oregon FAQ

Written by: Catherine Hodder, Esq. , Senior Legal Writer
Reviewed by: Jordan Walker, J.D. , Legal Writer
Last updated May 17, 2024

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A power of attorney is helpful when you can’t manage your affairs due to a disability or incapacity or even when you are unavailable. Learn about the benefits of a power of attorney and how to make a valid power of attorney according to Oregon law.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney in Oregon is a legal document that allows you, as the “principal,” to appoint an agent to make decisions on your behalf. These powers can include managing your financial affairs, property, or other essential matters.

There are different types of power of attorney documents. For example, you use a financial power of attorney when you cannot handle legal or financial matters due to a disability or incapacity. For healthcare matters, you use a health care power of attorney and living will directive, where you can name an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf and leave instructions for your medical care.

A benefit to a power of attorney is that you choose someone to act for you if you are suddenly incapable of managing your affairs. Without a power of attorney, your family members may have to petition a court for conservatorship. A court then appoints a conservator with the legal authority to act in your place, and you may not like their selection. Having power of attorney avoids the need for a conservatorship.

Who Can Be My Agent?

You can name a family member, friend, accountant, or attorney as your agent. They must, however, be 18 or older and competent. When choosing your agent, look for someone trustworthy, organized, and responsible. They have broad control over your money and property but also have a fiduciary duty to act in good faith in your best interest.

You don’t want to name two people to act as co-agents, as it becomes complicated. If you require your agents to act together, they may disagree, and nothing will be done. If you allow them to act independently, they may contradict each other’s actions. It is better to name one person as your primary agent and another as your backup or successor agent in case your primary agent is unable or unwilling to serve.

What Can My Agent Do in Oregon?

Your agent can do anything you authorize them to do, such as accessing your bank accounts, paying your bills, managing your real estate, and making financial decisions on your behalf. You can grant your agent general authority to handle all transactions involving the following subjects:

  • Real property (real estate)
  • Tangible personal property (personal possessions)
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Commodities and options
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Operation of entity or business
  • Insurance and annuities
  • Estates, trusts, and other beneficial interests
  • Legal affairs, claims, and litigation
  • Personal and family maintenance
  • Benefits from governmental programs (such as Social Security) or civil or military service
  • Retirement Plans
  • Taxes

However, there are specific powers that you may or may not want to grant to your agent. These powers may allow your agent to reduce your estate in some of the following ways:

  • Create, amend, revoke, or terminate a living trust
  • Make a gift
  • Create or change rights of survivorship
  • Create or change a beneficiary designation
  • Authorize another person to exercise authority under this power of attorney
  • Waive the principal’s right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan
  • Exercise fiduciary powers that the principal has authority to delegate
  • Access the content of electronic communications
  • Disclaim or refuse an interest in property, including a power of appointment

Under O.R.S. §127.045, your agent must use your property for your benefit unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney. You may allow your agent to reduce your estate to qualify you for government benefits like Medicaid to minimize estate taxes. Think carefully about your situation and what powers you want to grant to your agent. Talk with them also about how you would like them to handle your affairs.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Oregon?

durable power of attorney in Oregon remains effective even if you become incapacitated, meaning it allows your agent to continue making decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. Under O.R.S. §127.005(1)(c), your power of attorney is durable unless you expressly provide that it terminates upon your incapacity.

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

Under O.R.S. §127.005(1)(c), the power of attorney is effective when signed. You can, however, under §127.005(2), provide that it becomes effective at a future time or upon the occurrence of a specified future event or contingency, such as your incapacity. This is called a “springing” power of attorney.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

Your power of attorney ends when you revoke your power of attorney or you die. There are other circumstances, such as if your agent dies or is unable to serve and you do not have a backup or successor agent. Or if you are incapacitated and your power of attorney is non-durable. Additionally, if your spouse is your agent and you divorce, their agent’s authority automatically terminates unless you specify otherwise in your POA.

Does Oregon Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

No. Oregon does not offer a statutory power of attorney form. You can create an Oregon power of attorney yourself or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Oregon?

Yes. You can create your power of attorney in Oregon if you are 18 or older and mentally competent. When making your power of attorney, you should know who you want as your agent and what authority you want to give them. Many people looking to do it themselves use a customizable Oregon power of attorney form. If you have questions about making a power of attorney, you should talk to an estate planning attorney for legal advice.

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How Do I Make My Power of Attorney Valid in Oregon?

You must sign your power of attorney or direct someone to sign it for you in your presence. A notary public must also attest to your signature and verify your identity.

Do I Have to Notarize My Power of Attorney in Oregon?

Yes. In Oregon, a notary must acknowledge your signature on the power of attorney document.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After signing your power of attorney, keep your original in a secure place. Provide copies of your POA to your agent and any relevant parties, such as bank or financial institution. A third party may ask your agent to complete an agent certification form in which your agent attests that your power of attorney is in effect and that they have the authority to act as your agent.

Does a Power of Attorney Agent Get Paid in Oregon?

In Oregon, your agent is entitled to reimbursement of reasonable expenses for acting under your power of attorney. Your agent may also receive reasonable compensation for their time unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney.

Is My Oregon Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Generally, other states will honor an Oregon power of attorney that is created and executed according to the state of Oregon.

Can I Revoke My Oregon Power of Attorney?

Yes. If you are mentally competent, you may revoke your power of attorney at any time. The revocation should be in writing and given to your agent and all relevant parties who have your original power of attorney. You should also destroy your original power of attorney.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Oregon?

A financial power of attorney is an excellent start to your estate planning, but there are other documents to also consider. Two other important documents that help to complete your estate plan are a health care directive and living will and last will and testament.

A health care directive and living will in Oregon incorporates a healthcare power of attorney and a living will or advance directive. In this document, you name an agent to handle your health care, speak with providers, and make medical decisions for you when you can’t. You can also leave instructions regarding your end-of-life care, such as what life-prolonging measures you want if you have an end-stage or terminal illness.

last will and testament is a legal document used at your death. It instructs a probate court on how you want your estate handled. You name a personal representative to manage your estate, name the beneficiaries to whom you want to inherit your property, and name a guardian to care for your minor children. Without a will, you die “intestate,” and the court follows intestacy laws for property distribution and dictates who oversees your estate and your children. By making a will, you are in charge of these decisions, giving you peace of mind in knowing you are protecting loved ones.

Fortunately, in Oregon, it is easy to create a valid power of attorney and other estate planning documents using online estate planning templates.

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