Is anyone other than the person who made a living Will allowed to sign it or make any changes to it?

UPDATED: Sep 19, 2012

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Is anyone other than the person who made a living Will allowed to sign it or make any changes to it?

Asked on September 19, 2012 under Estate Planning, Washington


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In Florida, only the person who made the Living Will can sign it or make changes to it, unless that person cannot sign for himself or herself.  If someone wishes to make a Living Will but cannot physically sign their name, they can make a mark and have it witnessed.  I routinely have two witnesses sign Living Wills and a notary.

A person who lacks capacity cannot make a Living Will.  Capacity depends on the circumstances.  If a person understands his or her health and is capable of making choices for health care, they likely have capacity to make a Living Will.  Once a person loses capacity, another cannot make a Living Will for them or alter the existing Living Will. 

A Living Will is not required in Florida, and I doubt it is required in any other state.  If a person has no Living Will, state law says who may make decisions for someone who lacks capacity.  This is usually a spouse or close family member.  In most states and Florida, the "surrogate," whether formally appointed by a surrogate designation form or not, has a duty to make the choice that the patient would have made.  If the surrogate does not know what the patient would have chosen, he or she makes a choice that is in the best interests of the patient.

I have said more than you asked.  I hope this is helpful.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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