Did you know that the state of Wisconsin has a free durable financial power of attorney form available?
You can find it on the department of health services website.
A word of caution
A durable financial power of attorney is a legal document that gives people access to your money. You should be sure that you understand the powers you're giving, that you trust the people you name, and that you haven't missed anything. This document is a first step, but doesn't get you completely where you need to go, only part of the way.
The state form covers a lot of basic needs: people can access your bank accounts, for example. It, however, doesn't do a good job anticipating all the needs you might have.
Some things that a better power of attorney takes care of:
- Can your agent make gifts? If so, how much and under what circumstances?
- Does your agent have flexibility to do medicaid planning? If your agent has to make decisions on your behalf because you're incapacitated, there's a good chance you have expensive medical costs. It would be nice if your agent could limit these costs with good planning.
- Can they make a trust and beneficiary designations to avoid probate?
- Can they hire someone to help them with their duties, such as an attorney, accountant, or broker?
- And more.
An attorney can help you understand your documents and decide which, if any, of these other considerations are a good idea for you.
What can go wrong
The biggest problem is that the state form has a giant blank space for 'special instructions.' What are you supposed to put in there? Could someone put something in there after the fact? It's a dangerous section that has caused a lot of trouble for a lot of people because they didn't fill it out right.
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.