Durable Power of Attorney in Oregon

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

Durable Power of Attorney in Oregon

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

When someone mentions a power of attorney (POA), they are referring to a legal concept whereby a person can transfer control of certain aspects of their life—such as financial affairs or healthcare decisions—to another person. In Oregon (or anywhere else), this transfer of authority can either be for a fixed or an indefinite period of time, depending on the terms of the document.

Older man in suit shows older woman in pink sweater document in front of laptop

An individual signing the power of attorney is the principal, and the person designated to act on the principal's behalf is the agent or attorney-in-fact. The agent can be any trusted individual; just because the word "attorney" is in the title does not mean that the agent must be a lawyer.

Characteristics of a Durable Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is durable if it remains in effect even if the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated. Its main feature is that it remains in effect indefinitely. According to Chapter 127 of the Oregon Revised Statutes, which governs power of attorney requirements in the state, the law considers all POAs to be durable unless the document explicitly states otherwise. For example, a power of attorney is not durable if the document shows that the agent's authority can be revoked upon the subsequent incompetence or disability of the principal or if the document specifies an end date.

A durable power of attorney becomes effective as soon as the document is signed, unless it states that it becomes effective at a later date or after the occurrence of a specified event.

Transferrable Powers

People often use a durable power of attorney for financial affairs or healthcare decisions. POAs can be specific—such as operating a single bank account or deciding which hospital to go to—or they can be general. A general power of attorney can cover all of the principal's financial affairs or medical decisions and gives the agent a wide range of decision-making authority to act on the principal's behalf. Under Oregon law, anything the agent does on behalf of the principal must be for the principal's benefit.

Regardless of the whether the powers of attorney are specific or general, they should be explicitly written down in the POA document. Oregon provides a free durable power of attorney form that is available online, or you can utilize an online legal services provider.

Revoking a Durable Power of Attorney

Even though a durable power of attorney lasts indefinitely, the principal can still revoke it at any point in time, so long as the principal is still mentally competent. The revocation needs to be in writing and signed by the principal, and it must include a statement confirming that the principal is of sound mind. It must also refer to the information set forth in the original power of attorney document.

A second way a durable power of attorney can be revoked is if the principal dies. All durable powers of attorney automatically end upon the death of the principal. A power of attorney is not a will or trust.

A power of attorney gives an agent the authority to make important decisions on behalf of the principal. These might include healthcare decisions or financial ones. In Oregon, the courts consider a POA to be durable, or granting indefinite authority to the agent, unless the principal has revoked the power of attorney or the document itself includes limitations or an end date.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.