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The Importance of a Durable Power of Attorney: Protecting Your Interests in Times of Incapacity

A durable power of attorney is a crucial legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. Without it, your loved ones may face a lengthy and expensive court process to obtain the authority to manage your affairs. At Heritage Law Office, our experienced estate planning attorneys will guide you through the process of creating a durable power of attorney tailored to your unique situation. Contact us either online or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation today.

Understanding Durable Power of Attorney in Wisconsin

A durable power of attorney allows you to designate an agent, also known as an attorney-in-fact, to make decisions related to your finances, property, and healthcare when you are unable to do so. This legal document can be customized to fit your needs and desires, ensuring that your wishes are respected during times of incapacity.

Types of Durable Power of Attorney

In Wisconsin, there are two main types of durable power of attorney:

  1. Durable Power of Attorney for Finance and Property: This type of power of attorney grants your agent the authority to manage your financial and property-related matters. It can cover a wide range of tasks, such as paying bills, managing investments, and selling real estate.

  2. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: This type of power of attorney allows your agent to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. It covers a broad range of healthcare-related decisions, such as choosing medical treatments, selecting healthcare providers, and consenting to or refusing life-sustaining measures.

Benefits of a Durable Power of Attorney in Wisconsin

There are several benefits to having a durable power of attorney in place, including:

Protection of Your Interests

A durable power of attorney ensures that your interests are protected during times of incapacity. Your agent is legally obligated to act in your best interest, following the guidelines you have set forth in the document.

Avoiding Guardianship Proceedings

If you become incapacitated without a durable power of attorney in place, your loved ones may need to petition the court for guardianship. This can be a lengthy, costly, and emotionally draining process. A durable power of attorney helps avoid this scenario by granting decision-making authority to your chosen agent.

Flexibility and Control

You have the ability to tailor your durable power of attorney to your specific needs and desires. You can grant your agent broad or limited authority and can include specific instructions for your agent to follow.

Selecting the Right Agent for Your Durable Power of Attorney

Choosing the right person to act as your agent is crucial. Consider the following factors when selecting an agent:

  • Trustworthiness: Your agent should be someone you trust to act in your best interest and follow your wishes.
  • Financial and healthcare knowledge: Your agent should be knowledgeable about financial and healthcare matters, or willing to seek professional advice when needed.
  • Availability: Choose someone who will be available and willing to serve as your agent when the time comes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Durable Power of Attorney in Wisconsin

1. Can I revoke or change my durable power of attorney?

Yes, you can revoke or change your durable power of attorney at any time, as long as you are mentally competent. To revoke your existing power of attorney, notify your agent in writing and inform any third parties who may have been given a copy of the document. If you wish to make changes, work with an experienced estate planning attorney to draft a new durable power of attorney that reflects your updated wishes.

2. What happens if my chosen agent is unable or unwilling to serve?

In your durable power of attorney, you have the option to name a successor agent who can step in if your primary agent is unable or unwilling to serve. It's a good idea to have at least one backup agent in place to ensure that your interests remain protected.

3. How does a durable power of attorney differ from a regular power of attorney?

A regular power of attorney, also known as a non-durable power of attorney, becomes invalid if you become incapacitated. On the other hand, a durable power of attorney remains in effect even during times of incapacity, providing continuous protection and peace of mind.

4. Does a durable power of attorney need to be notarized in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, a durable power of attorney for finance and property does not need to be notarized, but it must be signed by two witnesses. A durable power of attorney for health care must be signed by two witnesses or notarized. Although not required, it's a good idea to have your durable power of attorney notarized, as some financial institutions and healthcare providers may require 5. notarization before accepting the document.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Wisconsin

Creating a durable power of attorney is a crucial step in protecting your interests during times of incapacity. By working with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your document is tailored to your unique needs and preferences.

Contact Heritage Law Office either online or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation and take the first step toward securing your future.

Contact Us Today

For a comprehensive plan that will meet your needs or the needs of a loved one, contact us today. Located in Downtown Milwaukee, we serve Milwaukee County, surrounding communities, and to clients across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and California.

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