Lisa, a friend of mine was a vibrant and energetic lady living and working in the state of Oregon. She was an independent lady who worked and managed her finances with ease and passion. However, one fateful evening, she had a car accident that injured her spinal cord resulting in her being left incapacitated.
As she lay in the hospital bed, she was unable to communicate and make financial decisions realizing the importance of having a financial power of attorney. This simple document became her lifeline. Through her experience, I would like to highlight the importance of getting a financial power of attorney in the state of Oregon.
Creating a financial power of attorney in Oregon enables someone to deposit your checks, file taxes, manage property transactions and other investments, and insurance. A financial POA grants specific powers to a trusted agent, known as an “attorney-in-fact,” to handle your affairs.
This article will help you learn how to create a durable power of attorney in Oregon for financial assistance in case of incapacity.
What Types of Power of Attorneys Are Available in Oregon?
In Oregon, you can create different types of POAs, with estate plans often including two key ones:
- Financial POA: Empowers someone to manage your finances and business affairs.
- Medical POA: Authorizes someone to make medical decisions for you; in Oregon, this is typically combined with a living will into an “advance directive.”
These POAs are typically “durable,” meaning they remain effective even if you become incapacitated. It’s wise for most people to have these documents in place for unexpected situations.
What Are the Legal Requirements of a Financial POA in Oregon?
To be legally valid in Oregon, your POA must satisfy specific criteria such as the principal being over the age of 18 and of mental capacity.
Mental Capacity for Creating a POA
The person creating a power of attorney must have sound mental capacity, but the specific interpretation may vary in Oregon. When unsure about someone’s mental capacity for a POA, it’s advisable to seek legal advice.
Oregon’s power of attorney laws don’t address notarization, but it’s highly advisable to sign your POA in the presence of a notary public. Notarization is often required by financial institutions to authenticate the document.
Steps for Making a Financial Power of Attorney in Oregon
1. Create the POA Using a Form, Software or an Attorney
Consider various options for creating your POA in Oregon:
- Use private company-provided templates with blanks for customization.
- Opt for an online software such as Willmaker for a user-friendly, guided experience tailored to your specific goals and state requirements.
- Consult an Oregon lawyer who can create a comprehensive POA as part of an estate plan, often including wills or living trusts.
Regardless of your chosen method, the POA creation process typically involves granting your agent extensive powers or specifying powers from a predefined list. In Oregon, POAs are automatically durable, remaining effective even after your incapacitation.
2. Sign the POA in the Presence of a Notary Public
As mentioned above, you should have your POA notarized. The POA form must be signed by the principle and the agent in the presence of a notary public.
3. Store the Original POA in a Safe Place
After completing your POA, keep the original in a secure yet accessible location. Inform your loved ones about its whereabouts because it won’t be useful hidden away in an inaccessible safe. In case of incapacitation, your attorney-in-fact may require the original POA to act on your behalf.
4. Give a Copy to Your Agent or Attorney-in-Fact
You should also give a copy of the power of attorney to your agent so that your agent is familiar with the contents of the document.
5. File a Copy With the Recorder’s Office
If your agent can handle real estate transactions, consider recording a copy of your POA in the county land records office (called the recorder’s office in Oregon) where you own real estate. This action ensures your agent’s authority is recognized for potential real estate dealings, such as sales, mortgages, or transfers.
6. Consider Giving a Copy to Financial Institutions
Provide copies of your durable financial POA to relevant institutions, like banks, to simplify matters for your agent in case they need to utilize the POA in the future.
Who Can Be Named an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact in Oregon?
Legally, choose any capable adult as your agent, but consider factors like trustworthiness, mental capability and location. Appointing a single agent is often best to avoid conflicts, but having a “successor” agent as a backup plan is wise if your first choice becomes unavailable.
When Does My Durable Financial POA Take Effect?
Your POA is active right away unless it specifies a future date for activation. While you can set conditions, like a doctor’s declaration of incapacity, for activation, this “springing” POA type is generally discouraged for several reasons.
When Does My Financial Power of Attorney End?
A POA terminates at death. A durable POA also terminates if:
- Revoked while mentally competent.
- No agent available; mitigate by appointing a successor.
- Court invalidates it due to mental incompetence, fraud, or undue influence (rare).
- When the principle revokes it.
Getting a financial power of attorney in Oregon is crucial for safeguarding your financial interests and maintaining control during tough times, ensuring peace of mind and protection for your assets and loved ones.
If you need help or have questions in regards on getting a financial power of attorney in Oregon, you can contact an attorney or legal aid organization near you.