A power-of-attorney document gives one person, known as the attorney-in-fact, the power to act on behalf of another person, known as the principal. Missouri law defines a "durable" power of attorney as one that allows the attorney-in-fact to act whether or not the principal is also capable of handling his own affairs. When acting on behalf of the principal, an attorney-in-fact has the power to make legal, financial and medical decisions that the principal may be held responsible for.
In order to provide a durable power of attorney, a document that grants power of attorney must include the following text, or wording substantially like it, according to Missouri law: "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." This wording and legal alternatives may be found in Missouri Revised Statutes Section 404.75.
In order for a durable power of attorney to be valid in Missouri, the attorney-in-fact must agree to act on the principal's behalf in all situations, including those in which the principal cannot act for himself or cannot be found. If the attorney-in-fact does not agree to act when the principal is incapacitated, the durable power of attorney reverts to a "general" power of attorney, which is in effect only when the principal is capable of handling his own affairs.
A written power-of-attorney document must be signed by the principal and dated, according to Missouri law. In order to ensure that the durable nature of the power of attorney is not questioned, it's also wise to put the attorney-in-fact's consent in writing, signed and dated by the attorney-in-fact. Missouri law does not require a durable power of attorney to be recorded with a court in order to be effective, except when the attorney-in- fact handles real estate transactions, like buying or selling property, on the principal's behalf, according to Missouri Revised Statutes section 404.705.