Can person that is confined to a nursing home sign legal documents?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can person that is confined to a nursing home sign legal documents?

If a person under heavy medications pain medicines for MS and has been confined to a nursing home for 8 legally sign on deed of trust or property line easement changes?

Asked on October 19, 2016 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Simply being in a nursing home does not mean she was not mentally competent. Of course, it may be that she was not mentaly competent, if heavily medicated, if hallucinating, due to mental illness or dementia, etc. If she was not mentally competent when she signed, the documents woukd be void. The problem is, a medical opinion that she was not competent is NOT a legal determination; until and unless a court finds that she was incompetent, she is presumed competent and her documents are valid. An interested party (someone with a financial stake in whether or not the documents are vaild) could bring a lawsuit challenging their validity and try to prove in court that she was incompetent when she signed. 

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