A Medical Power of Attorney gives someone you trust the right to make healthcare decisions for you. The person you appoint is called an agent and can only make choices for you in case of incapacitation, as determined by a doctor.
A Wisconsin Medical Power of Attorney is also referred to as Durable Medical Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, or Medical POA.
Laws: Chapter 155 Power of Attorney for Healthcare of the Wisconsin Statutes of Health provides the laws and regulations regarding a Medical Power of Attorney.
You can create other documents to record your instructions in the case of an unfortunate event:
- Living Will: Put your end-of-life wishes in writing. An MPOA and a living will are documents called advance directives.
- (Financial) Power of Attorney: You can use this document to transfer the power to make legal decisions to a trusted friend, relative, or legal representative. The named agent can drive business, financial, and non-medical decisions on your behalf.
How to Fill in a Medical Power of Attorney in Wisconsin
Follow the steps below to make sure you create a legally binding and valid form as specified in Wisconsin Statute 155.01 to 155.80:
Step 1: Choose an agent
The agent you assign can make decisions about your healthcare if you cannot communicate due to injury or illness.
Who should you choose as an agent?
Your agent should be a legal adult over 18 years old and someone you trust.
Your agent will decide according to what they know about your religious and personal beliefs. Making your wishes clear helps your agent make the right decision for you.
Relevant law: Wisconsin Statute of Health Section 155.05
Who can’t be your agent?
The following individuals cannot act as your agent in Wisconsin:
- Healthcare or residential provider in a facility where you are a patient or resident
- An employee of a facility where you are a patient or resident
- A spouse of an employee at a facility where you are a patient or resident
Relevant law: Wisconsin Statute of Health Section 155.20
Can you have more than one agent?
Yes, Wisconsin law allows for one alternate agent. If the primary agent cannot act for you, your alternate agent can step in and make decisions.
Step 2: Specify the healthcare decisions you want the agent to make
Carefully consider what powers to give your agent and alternate agent.
Can you limit your agent’s powers?
Yes, you can limit your agent’s powers. To restrict the healthcare power of attorney, you can write out exceptions, such as, “I don’t want to donate any organs when I die.”
Without setting up express limitations, you’re giving your agent broad decision-making powers regarding your healthcare.
What can’t an agent legally do?
Your agent cannot make the following decisions in Wisconsin:
- Cannot withhold comfort care as determined by the attending medical professional
- Inpatient mental health services
- Experimental mental health services
- Convulsive treatment
Relevant law: Wisconsin Statute of Health Section 155.20.4
When can your agent start making decisions for you?
Your agent can make decisions based on a finding of incapacity by two doctors (Section 448.01 (5)) or one physician and one advanced practice clinician. They sign a statement based on an examination regarding your incapacity.
Relevant law: Wisconsin Statute of Health Section 155.05.2
Step 3: Sign the form
To make the Medical Power of Attorney official in Wisconsin, sign the document as required by law. Ensure that your documents are dated and signed by you (or someone age 18 or older ) in your presence and with your consent.
Relevant law: Wisconsin Statute of Health Section 155.10.1
Do you need notary or witness signatures?
Yes, for your MPOA to be legal, you must sign it in front of two witnesses.
Relevant law: Wisconsin Statute of Health Section 155.10.2
Who can be a witness?
The witnesses must be 18 years old or older and cannot be any of the following:
- Related through marriage, blood, or adoption
- Someone who will inherit part of your estate
- Your physician
- Your physician’s employee
- An employee of a medical or long-term facility where you are staying
How long is your Medical Power of Attorney effective in Wisconsin?
Your Medical Power of Attorney expires on the date specified in your form. If you don’t include a date, it remains in effect until you die or revoke the document.
Relevant law: Wisconsin Statute of Health Section 155.40
How to Revoke a Wisconsin Medical Power of Attorney
At any point, you can revoke a medical power of attorney by completing one of the following actions:
- Creating a written document nullifying the Medical Power of Attorney
- Verbally revoking the document
- Starting another form from scratch
- Destroying the written MPOA