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Lawyers volunteer to help Missourians complete health care directives

Saturday, April 16, marked National Healthcare Decisions Day, a time devoted to setting up end-of-life health care wishes. In recognition, volunteer lawyers met with members of the public at dozens of free clinics across the state to help complete advance directives and power of attorney paperwork.

While The Missouri Bar offers free resources to help individuals develop directives on their own time, Saturday’s legal clinics were an opportunity to ask lawyers questions about the process in person.

“I felt the need to learn as much as I could because I want a better death on my terms and I don’t want to be a burden on my family,” said Jefferson City resident and clinic attendee Rose Lineberry. Setting up a directive on-site offered Lineberry peace of mind.

“Today has been immensely helpful to me,” Lineberry said. “Now I’m relieved and they helped me clarify everything.”

Lawyers who volunteered to assist with setting up directives noted that the process is important not only for those making plans, but also for loved ones and health care professionals expected to carry them out when the time comes.

“For one, it ensures a person’s wishes are known and implemented,” said Heather McCreery, a lawyer with Turnball & Stark in Jefferson City, told the News Tribune. “It also helps families because it doesn’t leave the decision up to them. If there’s a guideline as to what mom or dad would have wanted, then kids don’t have to wrestle with that decision.”

While National Healthcare Decisions Day has now passed, a free, fillable Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Health Care Directive continues to be available by calling 573-635-4128 and online at missourilawyershelp.org/legal-topics/durable-power-of-attorney-for-health/.

See more coverage of NHDD events around Missouri:

Locals draft health care preferences during clinic

Attorneys say it’s not too early to do health care planning for the end of life

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