Can you legally sign a document as a patient in a hospital while on morphine drip and other pain meds, even if the hospital is stating you were coherent at the time?

UPDATED: Aug 28, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can you legally sign a document as a patient in a hospital while on morphine drip and other pain meds, even if the hospital is stating you were coherent at the time?

My dad was in the hospital and a so-called friend had him sign a document that gave her several of his personal items.

Asked on August 28, 2012 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The answer to your question is maybe yes, maybe no.  Anyone can sign a legal document so long as they have capacity to do so.  In most states, capacity depends on the circumstances and, so long as your Dad knew what he was doing, he probably had capcity to do it.  His capacity may have been diminished by his illness and medication, but that does not mean he can't sign documents.

The other question is the actions of his "friend."  Taking advantage of someone can make the document invalid.  There are various legal doctrines that cover this - such as undue influence, coercion, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, fraud, or even theft. 

If your Dad wants to get his personal items back, he should speak with a lawyer to find out what can be done, at what cost, and with what chance of success.  If your Dad is a senior citizen, your state, like Florida, may have special laws that protect seniors.  Your Dad may be able to use these laws to get his property back.

If you, rather than your Dad, want to get your Dad's property back, you have to think carefully about this.  Consider what your Dad wants.  If he disagrees with you, I would expect you to lose any effort to recover the property.  If he agrees, then you can help him recover his property.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption