Having an estate plan is critical to ensure your final wishes are upheld. No two estate plans are drawn up the same as there are several essential documents that can be incorporated into the estate plan.
For some, having a will is all they wish to have in their estate plan. Others may choose to include a trust, or other documents regarding their end-of-life care or last requests. One important document that is frequently left out of an estate plan is a health care power of attorney (HCPOA).
What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?
An HCPOA is someone who can make medical decisions if you are not in the position to make those decisions on your own due to being incapacitated. The document designating an HCPOA should also outline your desired treatment, if any, in multiple situations including if your body would not sustain life without the requirement of medical machines.
How is an HCPOA Different from a Power of Attorney?
An HCPOA focuses solely on the medical care of an individual. Many believe that a power of attorney has the right to make any decision for someone who is incapacitated. However, there are multiple types of power of attorney including:
- Uniform Statutory Power of Attorney — allows the individual to make decisions regarding finances;
- Durable Power of Attorney — an individual has the right to handle finances and healthcare decisions; and,
- Limited Power of Attorney — an individual has a designated time when they can act on an individual’s behalf.
Depending on the type of power of attorney someone has, and if that individual has a designated HCPOA, will ultimately determine what decisions will be made if the individual is not able to make choices on their own behalf.
Do I Have the Right Documents in My Estate Plan?
It can be difficult to know if you have all the essential documents necessary in your estate plan. When you work with Krause Estate Planning, we go over what we feel will be best for you and your family should life-changing decisions need to be made. Contact our experienced attorney either online or by phone to get started — (608) 344-5491. We proudly serve throughout Wisconsin including Janesville, Madison, Middleton, Milwaukee, Oregon, Sun Prairie, Verona, and Waunakee.