Oregon Advance Directive (Medical POA)
The Oregon Advance Directive (Medical Power of Attorney) is a form that, in the words of Oregon Advance Directive laws, makes it legally viable “to choose a person to make health care decisions for you if you become too sick to speak for yourself.” Any person who enacts an Advance Directive is referred to as the Principal, and the person they choose to make decisions on their behalf is referred to as their Health Care Representative. The law offers the Principal the opportunity to convey their health care wishes in regards to:
- Whether or not they want their life prolonged by life support,
- Whether or not they want tube feeding during end of life care and if they are permanently unconscious, and
- Their choices about advanced progressive illness and extraordinary suffering.
Oregon introduced new Advance Directive laws in January 2019 which ushered in a number of changes to the previous laws.
Important changes were made to certain provisions. For instance, the previous law (§ 127.515(4)) demanded that a Principal must sign the Advance Directive in the presence of two (2) witnesses. The new laws notably provide a Principal with the option to either have two (2) witnesses or a Notary Public acknowledge the Advance Directive.
Another change that was made was to the language used. There are numerous instances where the language of legal provisions was altered for clarity. For instance, the previous definition of an Advance Directive (§ 127.505(2)) simply read: “a document that contains a health care instruction or a power of attorney for health care.”
In contrast, the new Advance Directive definition (§ 127.505(2)(a)) offers a more comprehensive insight of what this document entails by defining it as: “a document executed by a principal that contains:
(A) A form appointing a health care representative; and
(B) Instructions to the health care representative.
(b) “Advance directive” includes any supplementary document or writing attached by the principal to the document described in paragraph (a) of this subsection.”
State Laws & Signing Requirements
State Laws – Advance Directives
Signing Requirements (Section 3 (3)(b)(B)) – For an Advance Directive to be valid in the state of Oregon, the following requirements must be upheld:
- The Principal signs the Advance Directive,
- The Health Care Representative also signs it, and
- Their signatures must be “either witnessed and signed by at least two adults or notarized.”