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Wife Cannot Block Enforcement of Husband's Living Will
- December 7th, 2004
A Florida judge has ruled that a wife who holds her husband's health care power of attorney cannot stop a hospital from enforcing the wishes the husband expressed in his living will.
In 1998, Hanford Pinette, now 73, executed a living in which he stated that if he were in a terminal condition with no probability of recovery, he would want "to die naturally" and receive medication only to "alleviate pain." At the same time, Mr. Pinette gave his wife, Alice, durable power of attorney over his affairs, including decisions on health care. (See "Florida Case Pits Living Will Against Medical Power of Attorney," ElderLawAnswers, Nov. 21, 2004.)
Now Mr. Pinette is in an Orlando hospital hooked up to life-support machines. The hospital said that Mr. Pinette cannot recover and sought to fulfill the wishes he had expressed in his living will by withdrawing life support. But Mrs. Pinette insisted that her husband of 53 years was far better off than the hospital believed and tried to stop the hospital.
Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Kirkwood ruled November 23 that the living will must be upheld. Otherwise, the judge said, those with power of attorney could impose their wishes on the incapacitated. Mrs. Pinette is considering an appeal.
For a Washington Post article on the ruling, go to: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A9017-2004Nov23.html (Article may no longer be available.)
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm PC
Bill founded The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. in 1994. Bill limits his practice to the areas of estate planning and administration, incapacity planning, Medicaid, asset protection planning, and elder law. He is one of (15) fifteen attorneys practicing in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, ce...
Felinton Elder Law & Estate Planning Centers
Mindy Felinton concentrates in the areas of Medicaid planning, Veterans' Benefits, asset protection, nursing home planning, elder law, wills, estate planning, trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, probate administration and trust administration and began her legal career 30 years ago as an Assistant State Attorney...
Farr Law Firm
In practice since 1987, Fairfax Attorney Evan Farr is widely recognized as one of the leading Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Specials Needs attorneys in Virginia and one of foremost experts in the Country in the field of Medicaid Asset Protection and related Trusts. Evan Farr has been quoted or cited as an expert by n...