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How to Get a Financial Power of Attorney in Missouri

A senior couple meeting with a financial advisor to discuss a power of attorney in Missouri.

A power of attorney can grant one person the authority to act on behalf of another. This legal document is typically used in situations when a person may be incapacitated or unavailable to manage their legal, financial or healthcare affairs. The process to obtain a financial power of attorney can vary by state. Here’s what you need to know to get a power of attorney in Missouri. If you need help creating a full estate plan, consider working with a financial advisor.

Understanding How a Power of Attorney Works

A power of attorney authorizes one individual, known as the principal, to assign another person, known as the agent or attorney-in-fact, the responsibility of making legal decisions on their behalf when they are incapable of doing so themselves.

The extent of power granted can vary depending on the type of power of attorney. The powers delegated can range from specific tasks to broader responsibilities, and the document can be tailored to address temporary or enduring needs.

Common reasons for creating a power of attorney include:

  • financial management
  • real estate transactions
  • healthcare decision-making
  • representation in legal affairs
  • overseeing business transactions
  • handling tax matters
  • participating in estate planning
  • managing personal and family affairs
  • addressing government benefits

Before you name an agent, make sure that you define the scope and limitations of authority within the power of attorney to carry out your intentions accurately and responsibly.

Types of Power of Attorney You Can Obtain in Missouri

A senior couple reviewing their power of attorney in Missouri.

In Missouri, several types of power of attorney have specific purposes. Here’s a breakdown of three:

  1. Durable power of attorney: This remains valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated. For example, if someone has a progressive illness, they might opt for this power of attorney to ensure that their affairs are managed according to their wishes.
  2. Healthcare power of attorney: This allows the agent to make healthcare decisions for the principal. You might want to create one before you undergo major surgery. Naming someone who is trustworthy as your agent would empower them to take medical decisions, if needed.
  3. Financial power of attorney: This could give the agent authority over your financial affairs. As a frequent traveler or business owner, you might use this to allow someone else to manage their financial matters in their absence.

You should note that there is no one size fits all for a power of attorney. And while this legal document could be beneficial, it doesn’t guarantee any specific outcomes.

Additionally, Missouri, like other states, has specific laws that define and limit powers of attorney. For example, agents cannot make decisions after the principal’s death and they are forbidden from altering the principal’s will. So it’s advisable to consult a legal advisor to understand the benefits and risks associated with it.

How to Get a Missouri Power of Attorney

The steps to obtain a power of attorney in Missouri include:

  1. Gather necessary documents: This includes identification documents and financial records, as well as relevant medical reports for healthcare powers of attorney. These documents establish the identity of the principal and the agent, as well as define the scope of the powers granted to the agent within the power of attorney.
  2. Consult a legal professional: This step is critical to ensure that all legal requirements are met, and the power of attorney is valid. A legal professional will provide guidance and reassurance throughout this complex legal process.
  3. Draft the POA document: This document should include necessary details such as the name of the principal, the agent, the powers granted and the duration of the power of attorney. In Missouri, the forms “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care” and “Health Care Directive” are commonly used.
  4. Sign the document: The document must be signed by the principal in the presence of a notary public. This step is crucial as it verifies the principal’s identity and willingness to grant the power of attorney.

Bottom Line

A senior creating a power of attorney for her daughter in Missouri.

As specified by Missouri Revised Statutes Section 404.710, a power of attorney empowers an individual to designate an agent to act on their behalf if they become incapacitated or unable to manage their affairs. This legal tool can be paramount in numerous situations, such as enduring illness, foreign travel or sudden accidents. Ultimately, the effective use of a POA is not only about preparing for potential incapacity but also about proactive and responsible management of one’s affairs.

Tips for Estate Planning

  • Setting up a power of attorney is only one part of managing your estate. It’s also important to make other decisions that involve preserving and passing on your estate. A financial advisor can help you create a robust estate plan. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • You can use a free retirement calculator to help you estimate how much you’ll need to properly retire.

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