Power of lawyer: For cash, for well being
Power of attorney: For money, for health
What is the difference between a health and financial power of attorney?
Wednesday 4th March 2020
Eau Claire County Elderly and Disabled Resource Center
“Power of attorney” sounds meaningful and complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Assigning this authority to a trusted spouse, family member, or friend is important to ensure that your interests are protected in the event of severe disability or deterioration in mental function.
What is it?
HEALTH CARE: A health care proxy enables adults in Wisconsin to authorize other people (called health agents) to make health care decisions on their behalf only if they can no longer do that.
FINANCIAL: A financial authority document authorizes another person (referred to as an agent or effective lawyer) to direct the financial affairs of the person preparing the document (referred to as the principal).
Wow does it help me
HEALTH CARE: This is an extremely important pre-planning tool that allows you to set out some of your needs and choose your own decision maker. If you do not have this document and you need someone to make decisions on your behalf, you will face costly legal guardianship. Proper health care authority can eliminate the need for guardianship and save your family money.
FINANCIAL: This is an important pre-planning tool that allows you to choose someone you trust to handle your financial affairs. If you have not entered into this document or other appropriate arrangement (e.g. a trust or the appointment of a representative payee), a Guardian of the Estate must be appointed if the principal loses the mental capacity to make financial decisions.
Who needs one
HEALTH CARE: Everyone over the age of 18. Loss of the ability to make health care decisions can occur at any age. The likelihood increases with age or illness.
FINANCIAL: Everyone over the age of 18. The loss of the ability to manage financial affairs can occur at any age. The likelihood increases with age or illness.
When does it take effect?
HEALTH CARE: Only if you can no longer make complex medical decisions due to “inability”. Inability to work means that two doctors have examined you and determined that you are temporarily or permanently unable to make your medical decisions. This is when the document is activated. Note: it can also be disabled when you regain your skills.
FINANCIAL: Unless otherwise stated, it is effective immediately. It has to be “permanent”, meaning your agent has the authority to act on your behalf even if you are temporarily or permanently unable to make your own decisions. The current legal form of government for a power of attorney for finance is automatically permanent.
How much does it cost?
HEALTH CARE: FREE! A lawyer can also fill out the document, but they will charge a fee. It does not need to be notarized, but it does need to be witnessed at the same time you sign it by two adults outside the family who are not providing medical care to you.
FINANCIAL: FREE! A lawyer can also fill out the document, but they will charge a fee. It must be notarized at the time of signing.
Who should have a copy?
HEALTH CARE: Keep the original in an easily accessible place. Provide a copy to each of the “agents” and your doctor’s office and / or hospital.
FINANCIAL: Keep the original in an easily accessible place. Provide a copy to each of the “agents” so that they can make it available to financial institutions upon request.
Where can I get the forms?
• Aging & Disability Resource Center
• ADRC does not provide this form