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How to Make a Power of Attorney in Missouri FAQ

Written by: Catherine Hodder, Esq. , Senior Legal Writer
Reviewed by: Madison Hess, J.D. , Legal Writer
Last updated May 16, 2024

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If you have an illness, disability, incapacity, or are unavailable, you can name someone you trust to act in your place with a power of attorney. Learn about powers of attorney in Missouri and how to create a valid Missouri POA.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Power of Attorney?

power of attorney (POA) is a legal document allowing an individual, known as the principal, to designate another person, called an attorney in fact, to act on the principal’s behalf. A financial power of attorney allows your attorney in fact to handle legal and financial affairs. Generally, an attorney in fact handles your financial transactions such as paying bills, filing tax returns, and managing your property and real estate. For medical matters, you would designate a health care attorney in fact in a health care directive.

If you can’t manage your affairs and don’t have a power of attorney, your family members must petition a court for a conservatorship. The court then names a conservator with the legal authority to handle your affairs. The process takes time and money, and you do not have a say in who the court appoints. However, with a power of attorney, you control who can act for you.

Who Can Be My Attorney in Fact?

Any person who is 18 or older and competent may serve as your attorney in fact. This person acts on your behalf according to the authority you grant. When choosing an attorney in fact, find a person who is trustworthy, responsible, and organized. Your attorney in fact must act according to your instructions and has a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest and in good faith.

In your document, name a primary attorney in fact and a backup or successor attorney in fact if your primary attorney in fact is unavailable. Don’t name co-attorneys in fact because they may disagree or contradict each other’s actions.

What Can My Attorney in Fact Do in Missouri?

Under Missouri §404.710 you can allow your attorney in fact to act on your behalf with respect to all lawful subjects and purposes. This means they can do anything you have the power to do. You can also make exceptions to what you don’t want your attorney in fact to do.

Additionally, there are certain powers that you must give specific authority to your attorney in fact to handle, such as to:

  • Execute, amend, or revoke any trust agreement;
  • Fund with the principal’s assets any trust not created by the principal;
  • Make or revoke a gift of the principal’s property in trust or otherwise;
  • Disclaim a gift or devise of property to or for the benefit of the principal, including but not limited to the ability to disclaim or release any power of appointment
  • Create or change survivorship interests in the principal’s property or in property in which the principal may have an interest
  • Designate or change the designation of beneficiaries to receive any property, benefit, or contract right on the principal’s death;
  • Give or withhold consent to an autopsy or postmortem examination;
  • Make an anatomical gift of, or prohibit an anatomical gift of, all or part of the principal’s body under the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act or to exercise the rights over the principal’s body or remains
  • Nominate a guardian or conservator for the principal; and if so stated in the power of attorney, the attorney in fact may nominate himself as such;
  • Give consent to or prohibit any type of health care, medical care, treatment, or procedure
  • Designate one or more substitute or successor or additional attorneys in fact; or
  • Exercise, to revoke or amend the release of, or to contract to exercise or not to exercise, any power of appointment granted to the principal

Under Missouri law, your attorney in fact cannot do the following:

  • Make, publish, declare, amend, or revoke a will for the principal;
  • Make, execute, modify, or revoke a living will declaration for the principal;
  • Require the principal, against their will, to take any action or to refrain from taking any action; or
  • Carry out any actions specifically forbidden by the principal while not under any disability or incapacity.

Because your attorney in fact has significant power over your property and assets in Missouri, think carefully about what powers you want to give them.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Missouri?

durable power of attorney is a power of attorney remaining in effect even when you become incapacitated. It allows your attorney in fact to continue managing your affairs due to your inability to make decisions.

To make your power of attorney durable in Missouri, you must include a statement such as “This is a durable power of attorney and the authority of my attorney in fact shall not terminate if I become disabled or incapacitated or in the event of later uncertainty as to whether I am dead or alive” or “This is a durable power of attorney and the authority of my attorney in fact, when effective, shall not terminate or be void or voidable if I am or become disabled or incapacitated or in the event of later uncertainty as to whether I am dead or alive.”

When Is the Power of Attorney Effective?

You determine when you want your POA to become effective. You can specify that it will be effective immediately at the time of signing. Or you can make it a “springing” power of attorney where it is effective at a specified future date or upon the occurrence of an event, such as your incapacity.

When Does the Power of Attorney End?

You can revoke your power of attorney anytime as long as you are competent. Other events terminate your power of attorney and your attorney in fact’s authority, such as:

  • When you die
  • When you are incapacitated, and the power of attorney is non-durable
  • When your attorney in fact dies, and there is no backup or successor attorney in fact
  • When your attorney in fact is incapacitated, and there is no backup or successor attorney in fact
  • When you list a termination date or event and that date or event occurs
  • When you name your spouse as your attorney in fact, and you divorce or a court terminates your marriage

It is a good practice to name one or more backup or successor to the attorneys in fact in your power of attorney.

Does Missouri Have a Statutory Power of Attorney?

No. Missouri does not provide a statutory power of attorney form. However, your power of attorney must conform to Missouri state requirements. You can either create your own power of attorney document customized to your needs or hire an estate planning attorney.

Can I Make My Own Power of Attorney in Missouri?

Yes. You do not have to hire an attorney to draft your power of attorney document. If you know who you want as your attorney in fact and the powers you want to grant, you are ready to make a power of attorney. When using online estate planning forms, make sure they are state-specific and that you can tailor them to your situation. However, you should consult an attorney for legal advice if you have questions about power of attorney documents.

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How Do I Make My Power of Attorney Valid in Missouri?

To make your power of attorney, you must be 18 or older and competent. Your POA must be in writing, name your attorney in fact, and grant them general or specific powers. You must sign the document before a notary public.

Do I Have to Notarize My Power of Attorney in Missouri?

Yes. You must sign your power of attorney before a notary to be valid in Missouri. The notarization or witnessing ensures the authenticity of your signature.

What Should I Do After Signing My Power of Attorney?

After signing your Missouri power of attorney, provide copies to your attorney in fact, financial institutions, and other parties who may need to know about it. A financial institution, such as a bank, may require an agent certification form in which your attorney in fact attests that the power of attorney is effective, and they have the authority to act as your attorney in fact.

Does an Attorney in Fact Get Paid in Missouri?

Missouri law allows your attorney in fact to receive reimbursement of expenses reasonably incurred while performing duties under your POA. Additionally, your attorney in fact may receive reasonable compensation for their services unless you state otherwise in your power of attorney.

Is My Missouri Power of Attorney Valid in Another State?

Yes. Generally, a power of attorney created and executed under Missouri law will be recognized in another state.

Can I Revoke My Missouri Power of Attorney?

Yes. As long as you are mentally competent, you can revoke your power of attorney. To revoke your document, you create a “Revocation of Power of Attorney,” which is written notice to your attorney in fact and any institutions or parties that you are revoking your power of attorney and your attorney in fact’s authority. You should also destroy all copies of your original POA.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have in Missouri?

If you suddenly can’t handle your affairs due to an incapacity or disability, a power of attorney is helpful. However, there are other estate planning documents to consider, such as a health care directive and last will and testament.

A health care directive combines a medical power of attorney and a living will. This document is also called an advance directive. In this document, you name a health care attorney in fact to get your medical records, speak with your healthcare providers, and make your medical decisions when you can’t. You can even specify your wishes for medical treatments or life-prolonging measures in the event you have an end-stage illness or terminal condition.

last will and testament allows you to name who handles your estate, who inherits your property, and who cares for your minor children and pets. Without a will, you die ‘intestate,” and a probate court makes these decisions for you, and you and your loved ones, and you may not like the result. Having a will speeds up the probate process, saving time and money in court.

Fortunately, using online estate planning templates to create a valid Missouri power of attorney and other estate planning documents is easy and gives you peace of mind.

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