Your Oregon Power of Attorney, or POA, is one of your estate plan’s most important decisions.

You’ve likely heard this term before, especially related to healthcare and finances, the two major areas that this form applies. So, what is the power of attorney and why should you complete this document?

The power of the POA

Essentially, the POA authorizes another person to act on your behalf if you are unable to.

POA can apply to your financial, legal, and healthcare needs. You may appoint the same individual to handle all three (like a spouse), or you may appoint separate individuals.

Some people assume that they only need to establish a POA if they are very old or critically ill. That’s simply not true. You can file this safeguard anytime you wish, for your own peace of mind. We cannot always predict what will happen to us. Your POA helps you know that someone will manage your affairs in case of accident, disability, or serious illness.

Keep in mind, the POA can also take effect even if you’re well, but simply unavailable, like traveling abroad.

2 main types of POA in Oregon

In general, there are two types of POAs: general and special/limited.

General Power of Attorney: Grants a person of your choosing a wide range of authority to handle just about everything you might handle yourself, including medical and financial matters.

Special or Limited Power of Attorney: Places more restrictions on your appointed surrogate. They may only act on your behalf in one area. For example, you may have a separate person to manage your finances and healthcare decisions.

Other Oregon Power of Attorney considerations

When creating your POA documents, another thing to consider is when the powers will be in effect. Some choose to have a “springing POA” in place, which can take effect only after their incapacitation. Others want a POA in place all the time.

A “durable” POA remains in effect even after you become incapacitated. You, as the “principal” of the POA, have the power to revoke it at any time. It’s also automatically revoked after you die. Depending on your unique needs and circumstances, one type of POA may suit you better than another.

Oregon Power of Attorney: Get the POA that’s right for you

Establishing a power of attorney can bring you tremendous peace of mind. Talk with a qualified Eugene estate planning lawyer about your options.