I apologize if this is not the correct thread in which to post my questions, but it seemed at least the closest. On the recent advice of a nurse, I filled out a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament. I have just a few questions about these documents.
For the Living Will: Is there anything that could make null and void this document in the event I become incapacitated? In other words, is it legally possible for anyone to deny my wishes as they are listed on this document?
For the Last Will and Testament: In the event of my death, is there anything that can make invalid the document? I have learned that for life insurance policies, just for example, suicide does, at least in a great many cases prior to having the policy two years, nullify payment to the beneficiaries. I would like to know if *anything* could make invalid the Last Will and Testament, or if I can know that when my health gives all the way out my loved ones will receive all that I want them to receive.
Second question, and I apologize if this sounds--well, pretty stupid. For my Last Will and Testament to be valid (and perhaps the Living Will), I need to have two people who will not benefit from my death sign the document. Um, are there people I could pay to sign the document? I have to get a notary public to sign it after it has been signed by these two people--but I know of no two people who would are not beneficiaries who could sign it. I would not feel comfortable asking coworkers, and I simply know of no other people whom to ask. I imagine their are professional witnesses other than notary publics?
Sorry if this is the wrong forum for such questions. They relates to death and dying but are more legal questions than medical questions (the time for the latter has passed and now my primary concern is how to responsibly handle my remaining time and to ensure I leave my loved ones with no legal headaches to go on top of their emotional hardship; I can at least do something about the former).
Thank you greatly for any advice you may be able to give.
I have recently a document pertaining to "health directives", which may be the same as a living will..not sure. But the one thing I learned was that if you have a DNR order, make sure your loved ones and family understand fully and are ok with it.
This is hard to say, but if a loved one is slipping away in a hospital setting for instance, and the nurses/doctors are following a DNR order, and a family says, out of pure desperation "Do something!", that overwrites a DNR order.
Thank you. This is exactly the type of thing I was wondering: what one order might override another in a particular circumstance. My biggest concern is that my family will know about my wishes and honor them but that a lawyer will swoop in (I realize this may sound paranoid but I have heard of it happening; at least through word of ear anyway) and say, "Now, wait a minute here." Then, the next thing you know, I'm gone after having been in the hospital for weeks instead of days and my family is saddled with a huge medical bill.
Only a family member can truly interrupt and override a Medical Directive or Living Will. If everyone knows than nothing would interfer.
We knew in my mother's case, and while it was hard to know that technically it was withholding of all fluid and food, they (the nursing home) still tried to feed her everyday. If she took it and swallowed, that was fine. If she didn't, that was fine as well. It just made the process that much more drawn out but hopefully less painful for mother.
In terms of a Last Will and Testament. The only ones to know the contents was anyone to be benefited from it. Therefore, if you have 3 siblings and only mention 2, then the 2 are the only ones who will ever be told of the Will, the 3rd is out of luck -- at least here in New Jersey.
However, if you chose to leave things to cousins, etc. and you have a spouse, you can't do that unless your spouse is the executor and they know what your wishes are and carries it out. -- here in NJ, no matter what my Dad wrote about what he wanted my sister and I to get of his estate, my mother got everything because that was the state law. Even though he had a will.
Things are different in various states and countries, you really need to contact a lawyer of some kind.
Thank you for your response. I am sorry to hear about your mother. Her situation must have been difficult beyond description. That she was offered food and water with the option to partake or not probably did ease her suffering, and greatly at that. I am so sorry for your loss. It is impossible to imagine a greater hardship than losing one's mother.
I will follow your advice and when the times comes seek out a lawyer; as you say, the law varies from state to state and the only way to be sure about what is legal at a given time is to speak with someone who is fully aware of the particular laws of a state.