Heath Care Powers of Attorneys are essential documents for today's era of health care. With institutions taking the place of long-time family physicians and with privacy as a pillar of the new institution, who makes a health care decision for you if you're unable to?
Wisconsin, By Default
By default, in Wisconsin, a spouse can make a health care decision on your behalf and so can a guardian of a minor. For us adults in Wisconsin, in order to assure someone could make a health care decision for us if something happened to us that prevented us from making our own, we'd have to be married to someone healthier, younger, and someone who is never in the same car in order to prevent any accidents to happening to both spouses at the same time. But that's not the way love and marriage works.
Which is why, in Wisconsin, you can also execute a power of attorney for health care decisions so that someone you trust, often children, can make decisions on your behalf. That's why a health care power of attorney is so important to your planning. We feel so strongly about the value of a health care power of attorney, Cornerstone includes it in its plans.
Choices when creating a Power of Attorney
Of course, unlimited powers for health care decisions could seem scary - which is why powers of attorney have certain limitations, by default, which you can then personally change as you see fit. For example, you may give your child the power to make a decision, but as long as you are able to make decisions for yourself, your decision will always supersede your child's. You can give your power of attorney (or POA for short) the power to admit you to a nursing home, to withhold a feeding tube, or not. Your power can be as restrictive as you wish, or as general as you wish.
Including those you trust in the process
No matter how general or restrictive the power, the best way to make sure your wishes are met is to pick someone you trust and talk to them about your values. Cornerstone has several materials to facilitate this discussion and encourage a better understanding of your desires. It can be a good idea to keep the power of attorney on file with your primary care physician - that way they have it on hand if they need it or can help provide it to another doctor if you require care somewhere else.
If a Power of Attorney for Health Care sounds like a good idea to you, you can contact Cornerstone to have one included with your estate plan or drawn up separately. The state of Wisconsin also offers a power of attorney document on its website, which may meet your needs.
Cornerstone Law, LLC does not provide legal advice through this website; legal advice, by its very nature, requires a full understanding of your personal situation and can change from jurisdiction (your location) to jurisdiction. This website does not intend to provide legal advice, but instead, provide a general background education on different legal topics. If you would like legal advice, please contact Cornerstone here.