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Can a Living Will Be Contested? What You Need to Know

Male judge holding a gavel in court. Can a living will be contested?

A living will is a document that specifies your wishes for medical care in the event that you are unable to communicate your preferences. While this legal document can provide peace of mind, it’s not uncommon for questions to arise regarding its validity or interpretation. Can a living will be contested? Yes, in some cases, a living will may be contested by family members or healthcare providers. This article will explore whether a living will can be legally contested and what factors come into play.

First, let’s discuss terms. (What’s a Living Will, compared to a Living Trust and Last Will and Testament?)

A living will and a living trust are two distinct legal documents that serve different purposes, despite their similar-sounding names. a living will is a document that outlines your medical wishes in the event that you become incapacitated, while a living trust is a document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trust during your lifetime. Here is a little bit more about these different documents.

What is a Living Will?

A living will, also known as an advanced directive, is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding medical treatment in the event that you become incapacitated and are no longer able to communicate your wishes. It provides guidance to medical professionals and loved ones about the types of medical treatment you want or do not want, such as life support measures or artificial nutrition and hydration. You can read more about living wills here.

What is a Living Trust?

A living trust, on the other hand, is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trust during your lifetime. The main goal is to avoid probate if you die or become incapacitated. You can name yourself as the trustee, which means you retain control over the assets in the trust, and you can designate a successor trustee to manage the assets on your behalf if you become incapacitated or die. The trust then becomes the owner of the assets, and upon your death, the assets are distributed according to the terms of the trust. Learn more about how living trusts work in this blog post.

What is a Last Will and Testament?

A last will and testament is a legal document that outlines an individual’s final wishes for how their assets and personal belongings will be distributed after their death. It is a written statement that specifies how an individual’s property will be managed, who will inherit their property, and who will be responsible for carrying out the instructions outlined in the will. Wills need to be filed with the probate court to be effective.

Understanding the Basics of a Living Will.

A living will is a crucial legal document that details your end-of-life wishes, such as whether or not to prolong your life through medical procedures in the event you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. It can also specify palliative care options or organ donation preferences. To create a valid living will, you must be of sound mind and have the ability to understand the consequences of your choices. It’s important to ensure that your living will accurately reflects your current preferences so that those around you can honor your wishes even when you cannot express them yourself.

Can a Living Will Be Contested?

Yes. While a living will is a legally binding document that should be respected by everyone involved in your care, it can still be contested under certain circumstances. If you think your loved one’s living will should not be honored, give us a call at 602-443-4888. We can tell you whether you have a case or not.

Living Trusts can also be contested!

If you believe there is a reason to contest a loved one’s living trust, you should talk to a trust litigation attorney. There are many ways to contest a trust. If the trust at issue has ties to Arizona, we may be able to help you. Give us a call at 602-443-4888.

Reasons for Contesting a Living Will.

While a living will is intended to be legally binding and respected by all involved in your care, it can still be contested under certain circumstances. The most common reason for contesting a living will is when there are questions regarding the validity of the document itself. Here are some common reasons for invalidating a living will.

Can a living will be contested due to the person signing lacking mental capacity?

Yes,  If there are concerns that the individual creating the living will was not mentally sound or was coerced into making certain decisions, then someone may choose to challenge it.

Can a living will be contested on the basis of undue influence?

Yes. If someone exerted undue influence over the person who created the living will, the document may be contested. This can occur when someone uses their position of authority or trust to manipulate the person into making decisions that benefit them.

Can a living will be contested due to fraud or duress?

Fraud or duress: If the living will was created under fraudulent circumstances, or the person was coerced or threatened into creating the document, it may be contested.

If the terms of the living will conflict with state law, it may be contested on the grounds that it is unenforceable.

Can a living will be contested if it is ambiguous?

If the terms of the living will are unclear or ambiguous, it may be contested on the grounds that it is impossible to determine the intentions of the person who created the document.

How Can You Minimize the Possibility of Your Living Will Being Contested?

While it may not be possible to completely eliminate the possibility of your living will being contested, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the chances. First and foremost, ensure that you have created the document without any coercion or influences from outside parties. You should also discuss your wishes with your loved ones and make sure they understand and support them. It’s also important to choose someone as your decision-maker or executor who is trustworthy and capable of carrying out your wishes. Finally, working with an experienced attorney in creating or reviewing your living will can also provide added protection against potential challenges.

Seek Professional Legal Assistance When Drafting Your Living Will.

Drafting a living will can be a complex and delicate process, as it involves making decisions about your end-of-life preferences. Seeking professional legal assistance from an attorney who specializes in estate planning can ensure that your living will is legally binding, clear, and accurately reflects your wishes. An experienced attorney can also provide valuable guidance on how to minimize the chances of your living will being contested or challenged in the future. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified legal professional when drafting or reviewing your living will to ensure that you have peace of mind knowing that your end-of-life wishes will be respected.

Can a Living Will Be Contested? Call Us To Find Out.

If you or a loved one are in a situation where you disagree with the terms of a living will, it is important to take action and seek legal assistance to contest the document. The experienced attorneys at our law firm have helped many clients navigate the complex legal process of contesting living wills and can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to achieve a favorable outcome.

Don’t let a living will go uncontested if you believe it doesn’t accurately represent the wishes of the person it was created for. Contact us today at 602-443-4888 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you contest a living will. Our dedicated legal team is ready to fight for your rights and protect your interests.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.

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