Set up an effective Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive.
Creating a Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive are documents that help you plan for your own care in case of incapacity. In Wisconsin, a Power of Attorney is called a Living Will and a Healthcare Care Directive is called a Medical Power of Attorney. Both documents are easy ways to ensure that your opinions and wishes about your long-term care are considered and followed.
A Power of Attorney (Living Will) allows you to choose someone to make financial decisions for you in the event of incapacity and makes sure your representative has access to the means to pay for your care.
A Health Care Directive (Medical Power of Attorney) allows you to choose someone to make medical decisions for you and place directions within it about the level of medical care you would like. Examples might include whether or not you wish to submit to artificial feeding or breathing devices, or if you wish to give a Do Not Resuscitate order.
If you become mentally incapacitated and do not have either one of these documents set up, a court may appoint a guardian/conservator to manage your medical and financial matters. If you haven’t made a designation before you become incapacitated, potential caregivers will need to submit to background checks and to the court’s approval. Your guardian/conservator will be required to appear before the court and document decisions made on your behalf. Your guardian/conservator may not be your preferred caregiver.