Alice Haseltine


A recent decision from the Missouri Court of Appeals, In re Estate of Collins, holds that when a competent principal under a durable power dies suddenly without the required doctor’s certification of incapacity, the agent’s right of sepulcher does not vest, and therefore, the agent is never granted authority to dispose of the principal’s remains.4 The practical effect of this decision is to invalidate the rights of sepulcher in prevalent springing durable powers of attorney for health care. In light of this decision, all existing springing durable powers of attorney for health care in Missouri should be revisited to ensure that the instruments give effect to the principals’ intentions regarding the disposition of their remains. Additionally, the Missouri legislature should enact legislation that will remedy durable powers of attorney for health care that were drafted prior to Collins.

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