Every Adult In Wisconsin Needs Powers of Attorney, Including Young Adults

   One of the more troubling circumstances that many estate planning lawyers find themselves in is to have clients contact us just a bit too late for us to help them avoid stressful legal proceedings.  This was the case about a year ago when long-time clients of the firm contacting me to let me know that their twenty-something year-old son had fallen into a coma as the result of a car accident.  Since the son owned real estate and had some bills to pay and assets to pay them with, my clients needed assistance with getting authorization to act on their son’s behalf.

   Unfortunately for my clients, since their son was now unable to make legal or financial decisions for himself, getting them authorization to act on his behalf would be much more difficult than if they had done it a month earlier.  This is because that Wisconsin, like other states, allows for adults to sign powers of attorney to authorize another person to act on their behalf for medical or financial issues if they aren’t able or willing to do so themselves.  The only catch is that the adult who is signing the power of attorney must be competent when they sign the power of attorney or it’s not valid.  This means that my clients with the twenty-something year-old son had missed the opportunity to have their son sign powers of attorney authorizing them to make decisions for him while he was competent.  In their defense, they certainl ...

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