A power of attorney (POA) is a legal form that allows how you to choose a person to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. You give your “agent” or “approved decision-maker” the legal power (power of attorney) to make certain decisions for you.
People sometimes have a power of attorney for financial (money) decisions, but you can—and should—also have a power of attorney for health care. Depending on your documents, a financial agent may not be able to make decisions about health care, and a health care agent may not be able to make decisions about money. You can decide if you want the same person to have both powers.
A Power of Attorney for Health Care agent should be a person you know well and would trust to make decisions about matters such as surgery, therapies, medicines, when to use emergency treatment or go to the hospital, and whether and when to move you into a long-term care facility.
For a new Wisconsin POA form to be valid, you and two witnesses must sign at the same time, and the witnesses cannot be relatives, financial or health care agents, or a current health-care provider.
This document will not be used until you need it. Your agent cannot make decisions for you right away— unless you want them to. If you are able to make your own decisions, your agent cannot do so on your behalf.