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The Importance of a Power of Attorney and Estate Planning in Oregon

Elderly woman signing form while younger woman sits by her side

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone else – sometimes called an agent or attorney-in-fact – the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf and is an important tool that is often part of estate planning.

Our Oregon estate planning lawyers create powers of attorney that protect our clients and make things easier for families when serious issues arise.

Types of Power of Attorney in Oregon

There are different types of powers of attorney that serve specific purposes. Depending on the circumstances, a power of attorney can be as broad or as detailed as you would like. Our attorneys work with you to determine which types of power of attorney will best suit your needs.

Durable Power of Attorney

This power of attorney grants your agent authority to act on your behalf the moment it is signed. The agent maintains power of attorney until the event of your death or if you revoke this power. Having a power of attorney in place when you become incapacitated enables you to name who you would like to oversee your affairs and can eliminate the need to have a conservator appointed by the court.

Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

This legal document designates an agent to manage your financial affairs should you lose the ability to do so. If you are incapacitated, a power of attorney for finances enables your agent to take care of financial affairs, such as paying bills, managing bank and investment accounts, and selling property without any need for court involvement. Usually, the agent may be a trusted friend, family member, lawyer, or business partner.

Advance Medical Directive

Sometimes called a living will, an advance medical directive is a legal document in which you may appoint a representative to make healthcare and end-of-life decisions if you are unable to make them yourself. You can also state your wishes regarding the type of end-of-life care and treatment you do or do not wish to receive, such as whether you would want a feeding tube or life support in certain situations.

These decisions can be very difficult for loved ones to make, and issues surrounding end-of-life care are often fraught with emotion. Making your wishes known in an advance medical directive can help ease the burden your loved ones may feel when faced with these challenging decisions.

If you are unsure about who to name as your representative, our estate planning attorneys provide an objective perspective that can help you make a practical decision that is right for you and your family.

HIPAA Authorization

In addition to an advance directive, you should make sure your healthcare representative is given HIPAA authorization so they can access your health information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of a patient’s healthcare information.

Protected healthcare information is defined very broadly, which makes it difficult for even close family members, such as spouses or children, to get information or communicate with a loved one’s doctors without authorization.

Contact Us to Learn More About Powers of Attorney in Oregon

At Johnson and Taylor, LLC, our attorneys can help you understand how powers of attorney work and why they are so vital for effective estate planning. We serve clients in Salem, Keizer, Dallas, Woodburn, Albany, and Marion, Polk, Linn, and Yamhill counties. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online or call 503-990-6641. Members of our team are also fluent in Spanish.