Durable Power of Attorney in Missouri

By Tom Speranza, J.D.

Durable Power of Attorney in Missouri

By Tom Speranza, J.D.

Missouri law defines a durable power of attorney as one that grants an attorney-in-fact the power to make legal, financial, and medical decisions on behalf of the principal whether or not the principal is also capable of handling their own affairs. The Show Me State has specific requirements for creating a durable power of attorney that names someone your attorney-in-fact.

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Durable Defined

A "durable" power of attorney under Missouri law is one that "does not terminate in the event the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated or in the event of later uncertainty as to whether the principal is dead or alive."

Missouri also recognizes and enforces powers of attorney that qualify as durable under:

  • The law of the state where the power of attorney was executed
  • The law of the state of the principal's residence
  • The state law specifically mentioned in the power of attorney as governing the document—so long as that state has a reasonable connection to the power of attorney's purpose

Disabled and Incapacitated Defined

Missouri law defines a disabled person as someone who is wholly or partially "unable by reason of any physical or mental condition to receive and evaluate information or to communicate decisions to such an extent that the person lacks ability to manage his financial resources."

Similarly, according to Missouri law, an incapacitated person is someone who is wholly or partially "unable by reason of any physical or mental condition to receive and evaluate information or to communicate decisions to such an extent that he or she lacks capacity to meet essential requirements for food, clothing, shelter, safety or other care such that serious physical injury, illness, or disease is likely to occur."

Drafting a Valid Missouri Durable Power of Attorney

To create a valid durable power of attorney in Missouri, the document must meet the following requirements:

  • It is titled "Durable Power of Attorney."
  • It includes the following language or something substantively similar:

"This is a durable power of attorney and the authority of my attorney in fact [, when effective,] shall not terminate if I become disabled or incapacitated or in the event of later uncertainty as to whether I am dead or alive."

The phrase "when effective" is included in this language if the power of attorney is not intended to take effect until a future event occurs.

  • The principal signs the power of attorney in the presence of a notary public who witnesses and acknowledges the signature.

A power of attorney is not required to be recorded in any Missouri state office unless it is being used in connection with a real estate transfer.

Agent's Duties

An agent has the following duties under Missouri law:

  1. To act in the interest of the principal and to avoid conflicts of interest that impair the ability of the agent to take actions benefiting the principal
  2. To exercise the powers conferred in the best interests of the principal
  3. To avoid self-dealing and conflicts of interest
  4. To exercise a high degree of care in maintaining, without modification, any estate plan which the principal may have in place
  5. To exercise the authority granted in a power of attorney with that degree of care that would be observed by a prudent person dealing with the property and conducting the affairs of another
  6. If the agent has special skills or was appointed on the basis of representations of special skills or expertise, to use those skills on the principal's behalf
  7. To keep in regular contact with the principal, to communicate with the principal, and to obtain and follow the instructions of the principal

Duration of Missouri Power of Attorney

In Missouri, a power of attorney terminates at the occurrence of any of the following:

  • The termination date or the occurrence of a termination event provided for in the power of attorney
  • The principal informing the agent the power of attorney is terminated
  • The principal or their legal representative filing a notice of termination in the office of the Recorder of Deeds in the city or county where the principal resides or, if the principal is not a Missouri resident, in the city or county where the agent resides
  • The principal passing away, except that if the power of attorney grants authority to autopsy, organ donation, funeral, or burial or cremation issues, the power of attorney continues in effect for a reasonable time until such decisions are made

An attorney can help you draft a durable power of attorney that is valid and enforceable in Missouri.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.