Who Speaks for You if You Cannot?
A medical power of attorney ensures that your voice is heard about medical decisions should you become incapacitated. Also known as a health care power of attorney in Missouri, this allows your loved ones and your medical team the legal authority to act according to your wishes.
Centonzio Law can help you create a medical power of attorney that is valid under state law and makes your intentions known.
Medical Power of Attorneys in Missouri
In a medical power of attorney, you choose someone to act as your agent or attorney-in-fact (not the same as an actual attorney). Also known as a healthcare surrogate, your agent can make medical decisions on your behalf. These decisions include accepting or refusing medical treatment, artificially supplied nutrition and hydration, and other life-or-death choices.
A medical power of attorney is not limited to older individuals or people with severe medical conditions. Every adult in Missouri should have the peace of mind that their wishes will be respected by family members, medical practitioners, and the court.
Centonzio Law and our Kansas City, MO, attorneys can help create a comprehensive health care plan on your behalf. Once finalized, your medical power of attorney will reflect what you want or don’t want in the event of illness, injury, or accident.
Medical Power of Attorney & Health Care Agents
You may select any adult over 18 to be your health care agent. However, you should pick someone who will advocate for your personal beliefs and communicate your specific wishes to doctors and nurses. This individual will speak to the medical team and decide where you receive care – a hospital, nursing home, hospice, or at home.
You can choose a spouse, sibling, close friend, or attorney to act as your agent. Your doctor may not be your healthcare surrogate.
Your selected health care agent acts per your advance directive – called a healthcare directive in Missouri. Your medical power of attorney and healthcare directive can be in the same document.
A healthcare directive lets you give specific instructions for your agent. These instructions include your wishes about:
- Artificially supplied nutrition and hydration (feeding tube and IV)
- Life-prolonging procedures
Your healthcare directive should also include organ donation, burial, or cremation preferences.
Drafting a Medical Power of Attorney in Missouri
The Missouri Bar offers a free “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Health Care Directive” downloadable form. And while this is a valuable resource, executing a medical power of attorney is more than filling out a form.
Benefits of Working with An Attorney
Working with a lawyer helps ensure that your healthcare directive is legal and valid. At Centonzio Law, we’ve helped countless clients with their estate planning and healthcare plan needs. We know that thinking about illness and death is not pleasant. Still, proper planning can relieve stress and anxiety for you and your family.
While a general POA can allow someone to make specific decisions, the document becomes invalid if you’re incapacitated unless it is durable or contains a medical power of attorney as well.
We make sure that you understand every element of your healthcare directive before signing. Our full-service estate planning law firm has a notary public to finalize your document according to state law.
Centonzio Law offers affordable legal services and will craft documents to meet your precise healthcare needs:
- General Power of Attorney – Authorizes another person to conduct financial transactions on your behalf.
- Limited Power of Attorney – Limits authority to a single transaction, specific transactions, or transactions within a determined period.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Your agent continues to make legal and financial decisions when you’re incapacitated.
- Enhanced Power of Attorney – This includes considerations for long-term care planning.
Gain Control of Your End-of-Life Care
Suppose you become incapable of making your own decisions but do not have a medical power of attorney. In that case, a Missouri court may appoint a guardian or conservator to make your medical and other decisions. This individual might not be the person you would have selected, but it is too late if you cannot speak for yourself.
A medical power of attorney and healthcare directive should include explicit instructions about each of the following conditions.
Life Prolonging Treatment
Your healthcare directive should state what you would want or not want at your life’s end. These measures include respirators, blood transfusions, antibiotics, and dialysis.
Do Not Resuscitate Directives
Specify if you want your healthcare agent to allow CPR or shock resuscitation if your heart stops beating.
Feeding Tubes & Intravenous Hydration
You decide whether you want your life to be prolonged through artificially supplied nutrition and hydration if you are in a coma or similar condition.
You may choose pain management therapies that keep you comfortable and enhance your daily life.