Living Will and Advanced Directives Lawyer Missouri

A living will is a brief declaration or statement that a person may make indicating their desire that certain medical treatment be either withheld or withdrawn under certain circumstances.

A living will or any other advanced directives should always be prepared in advance of any hospitalization or impending surgery.

Living wills are limited under Missouri Law to situations involving a “death-prolonging procedure” and “terminal condition” which are both defined as a condition where death will occur within a short period of time whether or not a certain treatment is provided. In other words, the patient will die shortly with or without artificial resuscitation, the use of a ventilator, artificially supplied nutrition and hydration, or invasive surgical procedures. Thus, a living will only avoid treatment when death is imminent and the treatment is ineffective to avoid or significantly delay death.

A patient who wants to give instructions that exceed the limitations of a living will need an advanced directive. An advanced directive is an instruction by a patient as to the withholding or withdrawing of certain medical treatment in advance of the patient suffering a condition that renders the patient unable to refuse such treatment.

Living Will & Advanced Directives Lawyer

A competent patient always has the right to refuse treatment for himself or herself or direct that such treatment be discontinued. However, without an advanced directive, once a patient becomes incapacitated, he or she well lose that right.

Advanced directives must be clearly written and may include instructions to withhold or withdraw artificially supplied nutrition and hydration or other treatment or machinery which may maintain a patient in a persistent vegetative state. Directives can be tailored to the specific needs of the patient as well.

Once the documents have been signed, they should always be kept close at hand and not in a safe deposit box. You should provide copies to your attending physician, your health care power of attorney, and your relatives. If you are hospitalized, a copy should go into your medical records.

An advanced directive will give very important guidance to your attorney – in fact as to how he or she should act.

You accomplish at least two things by giving advanced directives, regardless of whether they direct all possible treatments or only some treatments.

First, you ensure that the treatment you receive is the treatment you desire, no more and no less.

Second, you take the burden off of your family and friends to make those decisions for you at a time when they will most likely be emotionally upset by your critical condition. Finally, you may be avoiding litigation to determine what treatment you really desired or intend.

Every estate plan should include a living will and an advanced directive.  Contact Living Will & Advanced Directives Lawyer at Legacy Law Center for more information.

What Are Five Considerations Choosing an Attorney 

Living will and advance directives are great ways to detail what you want to happen regarding body disposition, what types of medical treatments you’re okay with, and which ones you would rather refuse to have. However, accurately articulating these desires can be complicated in a legal document like a living will. Legal loopholes can arise even when your desires seem pretty obvious to anyone reading the document. That’s why it’s best to have an attorney on your side when writing advanced directives. Here are five considerations to have in mind: 

  1. The Right Amount of Experience

There are DIY templates online regarding making a living will and advanced directives. However, they can only go so far unless you have extensive legal knowledge—such as being a paralegal or attorney. DIY legal templates may work for small legal matters, but it’s better to have an attorney take the reigns for important matters like a living will. Ideally, it’s best to choose an attorney specializing in living wills and with ample experience regarding advanced directives. 

  1. If They Have Satisfied Clients 

While you can read online reviews when considering an attorney, direct feedback from references often makes a much stronger impact. Fellow legal colleagues can be a great source, but direct feedback from satisfied clients and/or their families usually can tell you much more. Attorneys generally shouldn’t shy away from providing you with references upon request. In fact, sometimes, an attorney may provide you with references even if you don’t ask. 

  1. If They Have Experience Working on Similar Cases As Yours

Not every living will and advanced directive are the same. You may have very specific medical conditions or beliefs against certain treatments. Additionally, contention between family members can be a problem. For these reasons, it’s best to hire an attorney who has worked on similar cases as yours. 

  1. If Their Schedule and Fees Match Your Needs 

Many people write their living will and advanced directives years before they will ever need to use them. However, time can always be a factor when choosing an attorney—regardless of the service you need. Be sure to ask potential attorneys how much time they have available and if their schedule works for you. You also want to ensure their fees are realistic with your budget. Some attorneys may charge by the hour, while others may charge a flat fee for a particular service. Be sure you’re on the same page and get the payment agreement in writing. 

  1. How Well Can You Communicate With Them 

The simple fact is that some people communicate better with others. If you’re struggling to communicate with a potential attorney properly, it might be time to look elsewhere. This struggle doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with the attorney or their services—just that they’re not the right one for you. You want an attorney who can plainly explain things in a way you understand, ensure your needs are met, and answer any questions you have.

For a Missouri living will and advanced directives lawyer, reach out to our Legacy Law Center!


    Client Review

    “Charles Moore answered my question right away. He made me feel at ease and took the time to listen to me. When I need a tax lawyer it will be that young man. You are lucky to have someone like him. Diana Tilley”
    Diana Tilley
    Client Review