Power of Attorney
A power of attorney gives another person the legal authority to manage some or all of your personal affairs. A power of attorney is created when a “principal” gives an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” written permission to act on their behalf. A power of attorney does not take away the principal’s right to make their own decisions about financial matters. The principal can end the power of attorney at any time in writing. A power of attorney ends automatically when the principal dies. In Oregon, a power of attorney continues to be valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated. You should not give anyone such powers unless you fully understand the consequences and completely trust the attorney-in-fact.
Oregon law allows you to name a “health care representative” to speak for you about medical treatment if you cannot speak for yourself. This instruction is called an advance directive. The advance directive allows you to give your physician and your health care representative directions about treatment, such as procedures that will artificially prolong your life. There have been well publicized cases involving legal disputes between family members (Terry Schiavo, Karen Ann Quinlan) where a person who was incapacitated or in a coma did not leave such written directions about their medical treatment. You must sign the advance directive in front of two witnesses, one of whom must be unrelated to you. The health care representative also must sign the form to show that they agree to assume the duty.
If you’d like more detailed information, please email our office () and we will send a PDF document with more detail on this topic as an attachment in an email. When you contact us, please make sure to include your name. We will NEVER give or sell your name or email address to any third party for any reason.