Understanding Power of Attorney Missouri

Learn everything you need to know about Power of Attorney in Missouri. Worsham Law Firm provides a detailed guide on types, uses, and legal requirements.

The Essentials of Power of Attorney in Missouri

In Missouri, a Power of Attorney (POA) is a vital legal document that lets one person, known as the principal, grant authority to another, known as the agent, to make decisions on their behalf. POAs come in many forms and can be drafted to fulfill various needs.

When utilized properly, POAs are useful estate planning tools that can ensure the principal’s wishes are carried out even when they cannot express them themselves in the future. They allow for efficient future planning and protection. The principal retains the right to revoke a POA at any time, provided they are mentally competent.

There are laws guiding the creation of a Power of Attorney in Missouri, so it is essential that you work with a skilled and knowledgeable Missouri lawyer to create a valid Power of Attorney. Our doors are open at Worsham Law Firm to help you achieve all your estate planning you achieve all your estate planning goals, including creating a durable power of attorney.

Types of Power of Attorney in Missouri

POAs can take several shapes and contain different provisions to fulfill a variety of needs. The following are some of the common types of Powers of Attorney.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated. This type grants the agent authority to manage financial and legal affairs over a long term. It’s particularly valuable in situations where continuous decision-making capability is crucial. A durable POA form must state explicitly that the POA is intended to be durable and name an agent and a successor agent to act in the agent’s stead if the agent is unavailable.

Non-durable Power of Attorney

In contrast to a durable power of attorney, this is not a long-term grant of authority. It simply authorizes the agent to act on behalf of the principal for a limited period, usually to complete a particular transaction. Once the transaction is completed, terminated, or the principal becomes incapacitated, a non-durable POA seizes to have effect.

General Power of Attorney

A general POA allows the agent to handle a wide range of matters for the principal, including financial, legal, health, etc. The document grants the agent broad powers to act on the principal’s behalf on all matters as allowed by state law. General POAs are unlimited in their scope and, therefore, unsuitable as long-term documents. They are best employed for a limited time to fulfill a specific purpose and then terminated afterward.

Special Power of Attorney

A special POA restricts the extent of an agent’s authority to specific tasks. A common example is a financial power of attorney, which grants the agent power to deal on behalf of the agent with respect to their financial affairs only. Limited POAs can be made durable since the agent’s power to act on behalf of the principal is limited.

Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney becomes effective only under specific conditions outlined in the document, typically when the principal becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage their affairs. The conditions that trigger a springing POA can include a medical diagnosis of incapacity, certification by one or more physicians, or other predetermined events. A medical POA is typically a springing POA. It authorizes an agent to make health care on the principal’s behalf if they become incapacitated and unable to make these decisions themselves.

Legal Requirements for Power of Attorney in Missouri

Creating a power of attorney in Missouri involves specific legal requirements. This document allows someone, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, to act on behalf of another person, termed the principal.

Missouri law specifies that a durable POA will be valid if it is signed by the principal, dated, and acknowledged in the manner provided by the law regarding the conveyance of real estate. RSMo 442.150 specifies that in real estate transactions, acknowledgment is by way of a court seal or notary public. This simply means that a durable POA document as well, must be acknowledged by being signed in front of and sealed by a notary public.

Also, specific language must be used pointing out that the POA is intended to be durable and that the agent’s authority does not seize upon incapacitation or uncertainty as to the death or otherwise of the principal. 

While there is no specific provision for the form a non-durable POA must take, it is safe to follow the same route of writing down and signing the POA document. Notarizing can also add an extra layer of authenticity by verifying the principal’s identity and willingness to sign.

The POA document typically needs to outline what powers the principal is delegating to the agent and the limit (if any) of these powers. Additional considerations exist in cases of a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. The document must specify the health care decisions the agent can make and provide that these decisions should align with the principal’s wishes regarding medical treatment.

These steps ensure that the legal document is valid and enforceable in Missouri. It is advisable to work with an estate planning attorney to tailor the provisions of your POA document to your specific needs while complying with the state’s legal requirements.

Steps to Create a Power of Attorney in Missouri

Creating a Power of Attorney (POA) in Missouri involves a few essential steps.

  • You need to determine the type of POA you need. Consulting with an attorney can help clarify your options, as Missouri law recognizes several types of POAs.
  • Selecting a trustworthy agent is the crucial next step. This person, also known as your attorney-in-fact, will have significant authority and responsibility. You must ensure they are someone who will always act in your best interests.
  • The next step is drafting the document. You can use available online templates, but it is more advisable to get the help of an attorney. The document should detail the powers granted, any specific instructions, and whether it is effective immediately or springing (only effective under certain conditions).
  • Lastly, it’s essential to provide a copy of the POA to your agent and other relevant third parties, such as financial institutions. You can also provide copies to your healthcare provider if the POA involves medical decisions. This ensures that the designated agent can act without delay when needed.

Revoking a Power of Attorney

Revoking a Power of Attorney (POA) in Missouri can be a straightforward process if done correctly. The two generally recommended and recognized ways to revoke a POA are either by signing a revocation document or creating a new one that contains a revocation clause.

You can draft a document with the help of your attorney solely for the purpose of revoking the POA. You will need to sign and date it as well as notarize it, especially if the creation document was notarized. Alternatively, you can create a new POA document, appointing a new agent and successor agent while stating in clear terms that your former agent no longer has the authority to act on your behalf concerning matters in which they were formerly authorized.

After creating this document, you would need to provide a copy to everyone who may have had a copy of your old POA. You should also inform your ex-agent immediately that their authority has been revoked.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Power of Attorney be challenged?

Yes, a Power of Attorney (POA) can be challenged. Challenges often arise due to concerns of undue influence, lack of mental capacity, or fraud. These challenges would typically be addressed in a court setting.

What happens if there is no Power of Attorney?

If there is no Power of Attorney in place, a court may need to appoint a guardian or conservator to manage an individual’s affairs if they become incapacitated. This process can be time-consuming and may not always reflect the individual’s wishes.

How long does a Power of Attorney last?

The duration of a POA depends on its type and the conditions set within it. A durable POA remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated. 

Empower Your Future with Worsham Law Firm

Navigating the complexities of a power of attorney is crucial for safeguarding your future. At Worsham Law Firm, we empower our clients to make informed decisions.

We offer personalized solutions to create an estate plan that fits you by taking the time to understand your unique needs. For inquiries on our estate planning services or further guidance in creating a POA, contact us today. It will be our joy to use our experience and knowledge of Missouri state law to guide you through this process.

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