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By: Scott Grossman on August 27th, 2016

Eight Questions To Consider During A Dispute Over An Advanced Directive


When many people hear about lawsuits involving trusts and estates, they immediately think of litigation that challenges the validity of wills or trusts. Disputes can arise in a wide variety of areas, however. This may include everything from elder law abuse that involves stealing, unduly influencing a person creating or amending a will or trust, to disputes over who should be in charge of making health care-related decisions during end of life care. Most people execute an advanced directive as part of the creation of an estate plan. This document appoints an agent who can make health care decisions on their behalf. In some cases, disputes among the individual’s loved ones could lead to legal action to challenge the validity of the document.

Ask These Eight Questions When Assessing the Validity of an Advanced Directive

If you are involved in a dispute over who has the proper authority to make health care decisions for your incapacitated loved one, consider the following questions about the advanced directive form that appoints you as agent:

  1. Was the form signed and dated in the appropriate section?
  2. Was an agent appointed?
  3. Was the form signed by two qualified witnesses?
  4. Did at least one of the two witnesses sign a declaration swearing that he or she is not related by blood, marriage, or adoption to the person creating the advanced directive?
  5. If not, was the form acknowledged before a notary public? The notary public is not required if the two witnesses were present.
  6. If there were witnesses, did they sign the advanced directive on the same date as the person who created it?
  7. If the person who created the advanced directive signed it while a patient in a skilled nursing facility, was it witnessed by either a Patient Advocate or an Ombudsman? A skilled nursing facility is a health care facility that provides skilled nursing care and supportive care to patients.
  8. Did the person creating the advanced directive make his or her health care choices clear on the form?

Defending your position as the agent of your loved one for health care-related decisions requires guidance from a legal professional, and we are here to help. Check out the words of our many previous clients in our client testimonials page today.

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The Grossman Law Firm, APC · · (951) 523-8307