Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Establishing a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPOA) is important for anyone 18 years of age and older. A DPOA for Health Care is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone else to make decisions about your medical care if you become incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. The Missouri Bar provides a free DPOA for Health Care form and instructions to the public. This form is easy to understand and complete, and it can help you make sure that your wishes are respected if you become ill or injured. 

Although it may seem like something that should be reserved for older adults, there are many reasons why a young adult should establish a Durable Power of Attorney for health Care.

  • Accidents can happen at any age. Even if you are healthy and active, there is always the possibility of being involved in an accident or suffering a serious illness. A DPOA for Health Care can ensure that you have someone in place to make decisions about your care if you are unable to do so yourself. 
  • Chronic health conditions. If you have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, asthma, or epilepsy, you may be more likely to become incapacitated at some point in your life. A DPOA for Health Care can give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be able to make decisions about your care if you are unable to do so yourself. 
  • Mental health conditions. If you have a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia, you may be more likely to need assistance with your health care. A DPOA for Health Care can help to ensure that you get the care you need, even if you are unable to communicate your wishes yourself. 
  • Military service. If you are serving in the military, you are at an increased risk of being injured in combat or training. A DPOA for Health Care can ensure that your loved ones have the legal authority to make decisions about your care if you are unable to do so yourself. 
  • Travel. If you travel frequently, it is a good idea to have a DPOA for Health Care in place in case you get sick or injured while you are away from home. 

In addition to these specific reasons, there are many other benefits to establishing a DPOA for Health Care as a young adult. For example, a DPOA for Health Care can help to: 

  • Relieve the burden on your loved ones. If you become incapacitated, your loved ones will have to make difficult decisions about your care. A DPOA for Health Care can make this process easier for them by giving them clear instructions about your wishes. 
  • Avoid conflict among family members. If you do not have a DPOA for Health Care in place, your loved ones may disagree about what is best for you. A DPOA for Health Care can help to prevent these disagreements by clearly designating who is authorized to make decisions about your care. 
  • Protect your rights. If you become incapacitated, you may be vulnerable to exploitation or abuse. A DPOA for Health Care can help to protect your rights by giving your agent the authority to make decisions about your care on your behalf. 

If you are considering establishing a DPOA for Health Care, you may wish to consult with a lawyer to make sure that your document is properly drafted and executed. You should also choose an agent who you trust and who is willing to make decisions about your care in accordance with your wishes. 

Download The Missouri Bar’s Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Form here.

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