Living Wills in Missouri: What You Need To Know

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Living Wills in Missouri: What You Need To Know

Living Wills in Missouri

                     A living will in Missouri is a legal document that states the wishes of a person in case they become terminally ill, or otherwise incapacitated, and are unable to make their own healthcare or medical decisions, particularly when it comes to life sustaining treatment or nearing end of life.

A living will is created to keep the decisions in your hands even when you are no longer able to communicate your wishes and it specifies certain types of treatment you would or would not like to receive in certain situations.  A living will attorney O’Fallon, Missouri can help you create the document.

Living wills differ from durable powers of attorney in that they don’t necessarily designate a caretaker. However, an individual with the power of attorney (for health care) is obligated to follow the wishes listed in the principal’s living will.

Any person 18 years of age can create one if the person signing is authorized to make their own medical decisions.  The document must be witnessed and signed by two people over the age of 18 that are not family members, beneficiaries of your estate, or financially responsible for your medical care.

Some areas that are covered in the document may include: antibiotics, CPR, artificial nutrition or hydration, artificial respiration, dialysis, chemotherapy, etc. Missouri law regarding a living will is stricter than most other states and the requirements include:

  • The living will must be in writing
  • It must be dated
  • Principal must be a competent person
  • It must be signed by the principal (the person to whom the living will applies)
  • If not signed “wholly” in the principal’s handwriting, it must be witnessed by two adults
  • Living will has no effect when principal is pregnant
  • Becomes active only when the principal’s condition is terminal or he or she is unable to make such decisions

Once it has been drawn up it is legally binding.  It may be revoked anytime by a patient in good health simply by destroying the original document, orally or by drafting a new document.  Once created, it is recommended that you provide a copy of your living will to your physician, the person(s) you have chosen as your healthcare power of attorney, trusted family members and always carry one on your person in case of an accident.  You want to make sure it is always easily accessible.

A living will can protect your family from Probate Court to appoint a guardian, the burden of making difficult decisions on your behalf in an emotional state, and ensure your wishes are honored.   It can also avoid disputes on course of action when family members don’t agree.

There are several variables when considering a living will so you may want to contact an estate attorney to establish all the legal documents that are needed to protect your loved ones from uncertainty regarding your medical treatment.

Contact Legacy Law Center today to have a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss a living will and other estate planning needs.  We can be reached at (636) 887-5297.