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Quickly create your Missouri health care directive

You can complete FindLaw’s attorney-created health care directive forms in less than an hour at home. Our guided process takes you through a few easy steps and includes a free HIPAA release form. You’ll be able to download, print and sign your documents in no time.

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Reliable Missouri health care directives from home

In the event that you ever become incapacitated with a terminal condition, your medical staff and loved ones might choose treatments for you that you would not have wanted. If you would like to make your own choices on medical treatments such as life support, you should create a health care directive. This will allow you to make your wishes known and give instructions in advance of the possibility of an incapacitating medical condition.

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Written by:

Kimberly Lekman, Esq.

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

John Devendorf, Esq.

Contributing Author

Missouri health care directive options to suit your needs

Health Care Directive

For One Person

A do-it-yourself health care directive that’s easy to personalize.

$49
What’s included:
What’s included
Step-by-step guided process
A health care directive tailored to your needs
Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
Free HIPAA release form
Free changes and revisions to your document for up to a full year after purchase

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Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

$189
What’s included:
What’s included
Last will and testament
Health care directive
Power of attorney
Free HIPAA release form
A comprehensive plan — for less
Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

How it works

Create your health care directive in under an hour

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time

Gather information

Decide who will be your health care agent/proxy, which treatments you would request or refuse and release your records

Complete your document

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing

Make it legal

Print and sign your document according to instructions. Give copies to your doctors and agent/proxy

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This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

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  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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What’s next to make my Missouri health care directive valid?

Follow these steps:

Make decisions on future health care issues

Your health care directive is a type of advance care directive (“advance directive“). It is a legal document you can use to make future care decisions in advance of medical incapacity. As part of your health care directive, you should decide whether you would refuse the administration of death-prolonging procedures in the event of an incurable, terminal condition.

It can be unpleasant to consider this scenario. But it can give you peace of mind knowing that you have made your wishes on end-of-life medical procedures clear. If you have any trouble with these difficult decisions, it may help to discuss them with your loved ones or a trusted medical provider.

Name a health care agent

In Missouri, you may choose a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf just in case you become unable to do so. The legal document you use to designate your health care agent is called a durable power of attorney for health care (a “POA”). The power of attorney document is another type of advance directive you may wish to have, in addition to a health care directive.

You are not obligated to choose a health care agent. But it can be good to know that you have chosen a trusted person to make treatment decisions for you just in case. When selecting a health care agent, you should choose someone who understands your medical care preferences and will be willing to advocate on behalf of your best interests and your instructions.

You should also be aware that there are a few limitations on who may act as your health care agent. Under Missouri’s Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Act, you may not choose certain members of your medical team as your health care agent. Specifically, you may not choose:

  • Your attending physician or their employee
  • An owner or operator of a health care facility where you reside
  • An employee of a health care facility where you reside

The only exceptions to the above restrictions would be if the individual is related to you by blood or marriage.

Sign your health care directive

To validate your Missouri health care directive, you must sign it. If you are unable to sign, you can direct someone to do so for you.

Under Title 31 of the Missouri statutes, there must be two adult witnesses present when you sign. They should then sign their names to the document. However, if somebody signed your health care directive on your behalf, this person may not act as a witness.

Distribute your health care directive

After you have signed and completed your health care directive, you need to make sure that it gets into the right hands. If you chose a health care agent, you should give one to them so that they understand your wishes. Your health care providers should also receive a copy of your health care directive so that they can enter it into your medical record. Finally, you should distribute copies to trusted loved ones and store an extra copy in a safe place that they know about.

Update your health care directive

It’s a good policy to review your advance directives every few years at least. When you go through major events in life, you may need to update your estate plan (including your health care directive) sooner. Life circumstances that may make you reconsider your advance directives include:

  • An interstate move
  • A new diagnosis
  • divorce
  • Changes in medical technology

Rest assured that if you create your health care directive with FindLaw, you can make unlimited updates for a year after purchase.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if:

  • Your family disagrees with your medical choices
  • You don’t know who to appoint as your agent
  • You have questions about life prolonging measures
  • You want legal review of your completed document
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Create my health care directive

Common questions about Missouri health care directives

Wills and living wills have confusingly similar names, but they are very different legal documents.

living will, also known as a health care directive, is not a will in the traditional sense. You cannot use it to describe your wishes about the distribution of your property after your death. A health care directive allows you use to make a declaration about your medical preferences in the event that you ever become terminally ill and unable to express your treatment choices.

last will and testament (a “will”) is the primary estate planning document. You can use it to name beneficiaries who will receive your assets after your death. If you have minor children, you can use a will to name trusted guardians for them just in case.

However, you cannot use a will to give instructions on future health care issues. If you would like to specify your preferences on life support and life-prolonging treatments, you need to create a health care directive.

To create a valid health care directive in Missouri, you must meet certain basic requirements:

  • The document must be in writing.
  • You must be an adult.
  • You must be a competent person of sound mind.
  • The document must be dated.
  • You must sign your health care directive or direct someone to sign it for you.
  • There must be at least two witnesses present at the time of signing. The witnesses should both be over the age of 18.

If someone signed your document on your behalf, this person may not act as a witness.

Note that the “sound mind” requirement is fairly forgiving. Under Missouri law, you are of sound mind as long as you are able to understand information about your condition and communicate your health care decisions.

Technically, yes. Under Missouri law, you can create a legally valid handwritten health care directive. Legally, a health care directive does not need to be witnessed in Missouri if it is entirely in your handwriting.

However, you should not rely on handwritten documents unless you absolutely must. Handwriting can be difficult to interpret and verify. This could cause your medical providers to question the validity and authenticity of your document.

A better policy is to sign a printed health care directive in front of two adult witnesses if possible. You can create a customized health care directive through FindLaw in less than an hour from any location that is convenient to you.

Under Missouri law, your doctors will only act on the instructions in your health care directive if you have a terminal condition and are unable to make your own health care decisions. However, a Missouri health care directive is not effective during pregnancy.

A medical condition is only defined as “terminal” if it is irreversible, and the attending physician believes it will result in death within a short period of time.

As long as you are able to communicate your medical choices, your doctors must consult with you directly about your care. Any decisions you make while you have the capacity to do so will take precedence over the provisions in your health care directive.

A health care directive is a legally binding document that your health care providers have a duty to honor, even if that means transferring you to another medical provider. If your attending physician becomes unwilling to carry out the terms of your health care directive, they must make reasonable efforts to transfer you to a doctor who will act on your instructions.

Under Missouri law, the same is true of a medical facility itself. If your health care directive conflicts with the policies of your health care facility, the facility must take reasonable measures to transfer you to a provider who can carry out the terms of your advance directives.

You have the right to change your mind about your advance directives at any time during your life. Your physical or mental condition has no impact on your ability to perform a revocation in Missouri.

If you would like to completely revoke your health care directive, you can do so in any manner you are able to. This might include physically destroying your document or creating a new writing that makes your revocation clear. If your health care directive contains a revocation provision, you can sign and date this provision as a revocation.

Whichever method you choose, it must clearly convey your intention to revoke. A good way to accomplish this is to create a new health care directive that revokes all prior ones.

After you revoke a health care directive or create a new one, you should be sure to let the right people know about the change. You should tell your health care providers immediately. If you named a health care agent, you should tell them about the changes so that they are aware of your updated wishes. Finally, be sure to tell your loved ones about your updates or revocation.

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