A power of attorney legally assigns authority to someone to act on your behalf in matters that you specify within the document.

Why you should set it up:

If you don’t have a power of attorney in place, your loved ones may have to go to court to have someone appointed to the position to make decision on your behalf. The documents can also help you lay out your wishes in advance if something would happen, which will aid the person appointed during difficult times.

It is important to make sure that you have two power of attorneys in place, one for medical care and another for your finances. Having them in two different documents also allows you to appoint different people for each of the directives.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney can help manage your finances form paying bills, making investment decisions, and collecting any retirement income.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney allows someone to make health care decisions when you are no longer able to. It is important to know what other estate planning documents you have in place, such as a living will, as a health care power of attorney can work alongside a living will. Together they can make sure that if something happens to you there documents in place to manage your affairs.


In the event that something should happen to you, having a durable power of attorney for medical and financial care grants someone the authority to act on your behalf when you no longer have the ability to make the decisions.

You may describe in the document when it becomes effective – immediately or when you might become incapacitated and unable to make decisions.


“Non-Durable” means the document would no longer be effective if the person who made it loses mental capacity.

How to do it:

Power of attorney paperwork is an important part of your estate plan and can be difficult to navigate. Generally, these forms can be completed along with your estate plan by an attorney. The attorney can guide you through filling and appointing of someone that would assist you should something happen.

The state of Wisconsin’s health services department has these forms available online that can be used to help accomplish your wishes. The forms may require an additional witness to sign as well as a notary.