Missouri Advance Directives for Healthcare

Rolla attorneys help you keep control of medical decisions

Williams, Robinson, Rigler & Buschjost, P.C. in Rolla provides comprehensive counsel to Missouri residents who want to create an advance directive to keep control of their medical treatment even if they are incapacitated.

What is an advance directive?

An advance directive is an enforceable legal document in which someone declares their healthcare preferences. If the person is incapacitated and unable to communicate, their advance directive can name someone to make medical decisions on their behalf, as well as the types of treatments they want and don’t want.

Though thinking about a potentially debilitating illness or injury might be difficult, preparing these documents beforehand can avert emotional disagreements among your loved ones during a medical crisis. One of our estate planning lawyers can incorporate a directive addressing your health care choices with a durable power of attorney. This means that you can choose a person you trust to handle important concerns if you are in a coma, terminally ill, seriously injured or suffering from dementia. Depending on your needs, your power of attorney could include authority to take care of financial matters for you along with healthcare concerns. Though there have been instances where family members have tried to override advance directives, you can protect yourself by creating clear legal documents and selecting a reliable person as your proxy.

Types of advance directives

Common types of advance healthcare directives include:

  • Living wills — These documents address end-of life decisions and, in some cases, are referred to as “do not resuscitate” orders. 
  • Medical power of attorney — A medical power of attorney is similar to a healthcare proxy under which the principal appoints someone to approve or reject specific treatments on their behalf. With a general durable power of attorney, your designee can also handle financial matters.
  • Healthcare choices directive — You can include additional instructions about your medical preferences and quality of life that could be used if you are seriously hurt or ill.

Our personalized approach means you will get the healthcare directives that best suit your needs.

What should be included in an advance directive?

When creating an advance directive, you might wish to state your wishes regarding specific medical procedures, particularly those used during end-of-life care. These extraordinary treatments could include tube feeding and the use of a breathing machine. If you have also named a health care proxy, the guidance you draft in an advance directive will make the decision-making process easier for that person.

When should you get an advance directive in Missouri?

Severe accidents and sudden illnesses strike people of all ages. That’s why you should not wait to create a valid advance directive that sets forth your wishes. Without a properly executed document, your loved ones and medical providers might face confusion regarding who is in charge of your treatment. Most people execute advance directives that will remain in force indefinitely, but you can also draft a document covering a temporary period of incapacity, such as when you’re getting surgery. You can revise or revoke these legal instruments at any time.

What to do once you have an advance directive

Once you’ve made the responsible decision to complete an advance directive, you should take a couple steps to make sure that it will be enforced. During the drafting process, it’s wise to speak with your intended proxy to see if they are willing to take on that responsibility. Give that person a copy and also make sure you have other copies available for your medical providers in case you are in a situation where you might be unable to communicate.

Contact a Rolla attorney to schedule a consultation about advance directives

Williams, Robinson, Rigler & Buschjost, P.C. advises Missouri residents about all types of advance directives. For a consultation, please call 573-458-9481 or contact us online. Our office is in Rolla.