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Free forms help Missourians create advance health care directives

National Healthcare Decisions Day on April 16 reminds all to complete these important documents

Death is uncomfortable, and many of us do not want to think about it. But planning end-of-life decisions ahead of time can save yourself and your loved ones a lot of stress. Missourians can easily set up their own durable power of attorney for health care and advance health care directive thanks to free materials authored by volunteer lawyers and provided by The Missouri Bar. 

The Missouri Bar recognizes National Healthcare Decisions Day, on April 16, in hopes of encouraging citizens to take the steps to put their end-of-life health care wishes in writing. 

“Now is always the right the time to put your end-of-life care wishes in place, or review them if you have already done so,” said John Gunn, 2020-21 president of The Missouri Bar. “As an estate planning lawyer, I often learn of disheartening examples where loved ones were left to make difficult health care decisions for a family member when they were unaware what that family member’s care preferences would be. By beginning the conversation with your loved ones today, you can best ensure that your care choices are respected, while taking the burden off family members and health care providers when the time comes.” 

Hosted by The Conversation Project, National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is a national effort that promotes important advance health care decisions through public education efforts. 

The state bar offers free Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Health Care Directive forms in both English and Spanish. Residents can request printed copies of the form booklets by calling 573-635-4128 or ordering online. While the state bar offers these resources year-round, NHDD reminds us why it is important to not procrastinate when it comes to completing these documents.  

To learn more about NHDD and access the available tools for starting end-of-life conversations, visit theconversationproject.org/nhdd/.  The Missouri Bar is a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law and the administration of justice for all Missourians. Created in 1944 by order of the Supreme Court of Missouri, it serves all 30,000 of Missouri’s practicing lawyers. The Missouri Bar provides a wide range of services and resources to its members, as well as the media, educators and the citizens of Missouri. To learn more about The Missouri Bar, visit MoBar.org and MissouriLawyersHelp.org