Wisconsin Health Care Power of Attorney Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

In the unfortunate case that a family member or loved one becomes incapacitated, someone else may need to make decisions related to health care, treatment, and whether to continue life support. There is a way to legally confer that authority onto another person and that's through the use of a durable power of attorney or, as it is referred to in Wisconsin, a power of attorney for health care.

For example, a health care power of attorney can allow a named person (also called an "attorney-in-fact") to decide whether or not the patient should remain connected to a respirator. Read on for a helpful introduction to health care power of attorney laws in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Health Care Power of Attorney Laws: Overview

The chart below highlights Wisconsin health care power of attorney laws, along with details about the specific powers, legal requirements, revocation, and state-to-state validity. You should be aware, however, that if you've already made end of life decisions in a living will, those must be honored. See Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Living Wills to learn more.

Code Section(s)

Wisconsin Statutes:

Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts

Designation of another for purpose of making informed decisions in the exercise of the right to accept, maintain, discontinue, or refuse any care, treatment, service or procedure to diagnose, maintain, or treat physical or mental condition.

Feeding tube may be withheld or withdrawn unless it would cause pain. Agent may not consent to withholding or withdrawing of orally ingested nutrition or hydration unless provision is medically contraindicated.

Legal Requirements for Power of Attorney for Health Care

To be legally effective in Wisconsin, a power of attorney for health care must be:

  1. Executed by one who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind;
  2. In writing;
  3. Signed;
  4. Dated;
  5. Witnessed by two people;
  6. Voluntarily executed;
  7. Triggered by a finding of incapacity by two physicians; and
  8. Substantially the same form as Section 155.30.

Note: Section 155.30 provides that the document may be filed with register in probate of the principal's county of residence, but this is not required.

Revocation of Power of Attorney for Health Care

A power of attorney for health care is revocable at any time by:

  1. Canceling or destroying document;
  2. Revoking the document in a writing that is signed and dated;
  3. Revoking the document verbally in the presence of two witnesses;
  4. Executing a subsequent power of attorney; or
  5. Divorce, if a former spouse was the attorney-in-fact.

Validity from State-to-State

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If Physician Unwilling to Follow Power of Attorney

The physician must make a good faith attempt to transfer the principal to a complying physician.

Immunity for Attending Physician

No civil, criminal, or professional liability if acting in good faith

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Questions About Wisconsin Health Care Power of Attorney Documents? Get Legal Help

Powers of attorney are serious matters, especially in the health care context where you can essentially empower someone else to make life or death decisions on your behalf. That's why it's important to ensure you fully understand how this power works. Get your questions answered today by speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney in your area.

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