Importance of a Power of Attorney
Dec 23, 2021
There is a lot of discussion about the importance of having a Last Will and Testament. We absolutely agree. However, proper estate planning is more than just a Last Will and Testament. Executing a Power of Attorney is just as important. Let’s discuss what a Power of Attorney is, when it goes into effect and what happens if you do not have one.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives the person of your choosing the authority to act on your behalf. In the State of Wisconsin there are two main types of Power of Attorney.
Power of Attorney for Healthcare – This allows you to appoint someone to make your healthcare decision for you. The decisions can be as simple as whether you receive medication or as complex as whether you receive a high-risk surgery and end of life decisions. Your Healthcare Power of Attorney is given access to your medical records and the authority to speak with your doctors to make an educated decision.
Power of Attorney for Finance and Property – This allows you to appoint someone to make your financial decisions for you. Your Financial Power of Attorney can be given the authority to handle matters including real estate, personal property, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, insurance and annuities, taxes, government benefits, legal matters, and the operation of your business.
When your Power of Attorney goes into effect depends on how it is written. The effective dates for the Power of Attorney for Healthcare and the Power of Attorney for Finances can be different. Typically, the Power of Attorney for Finances goes into effect immediately. The Power of Attorney for Healthcare typically goes into effect when you become incapacitated and are unable to make your own decisions. The authority given in your Power of Attorney ends at the time or your death.
Insurance statistics reveal that one out of two Americans will suffer a period of prolonged incapacity in his or her lifetime. So, what happens if you don’t have a Power of Attorney for Healthcare and a Power of Attorney for Finances? In the event you become incapacitated or incompetent, no one has the authority to make decisions on your behalf. Your family would have to petition the court for a guardianship. Having the court appoint a guardian is a multi-step process. It can be time consuming and expensive during an already stressful time. All which can be avoided by simply executing a Power of Attorney for Healthcare and a Power of Attorney for Finances. Having an experienced attorney assist you with your estate planning can give you peace of mind that you and your family are prepared for the unknown.
No one knows for sure what the future holds, but it is wise to be prepared. At Pedersen Law Office, LLC we offer free consults and meet with your personally to understand your specific circumstances and goals for the future. Our law office serves the communities of Appleton, Kimberly, Kaukauna, Menasha, Neenah, Oshkosh, Green Bay, De Pere and their surrounding areas.