Do I Need to Have My North Carolina Living Will Witnessed or Notarized?

In North Carolina, you must sign your health care directives in front of witnesses and a notary.

In North Carolina, a living will -- that is, the document in which you leave directions about the kind of health care you’d like to receive -- is called an advance directive. If you’d like to name a person to make health care decisions on your behalf, you’ll also make a health care power of attorney.

Sign Your North Carolina Health Care Directives in Front of Two Witnesses and a Notary

After you make your health care documents, they must be signed by two witnesses and notarized.

The witnesses for your advance directive must not be:

  • related to you by blood or marriage
  • your attending physician or mental health treatment provider
  • a licensed health care provider who is (1) an employee of your attending physician or mental health treatment provider, (2) an employee of the health facility in which you are a patient or (3) an employee of a nursing home or any adult care home where you reside
  • a person entitled to any part of your estate by operation of law or under your will, or
  • a person with a claim against you or your estate.

The witnesses for your health care power of attorney must not be:

  • under the age of 18
  • related to you by blood or marriage
  • your attending physician or mental health treatment provider
  • a licensed health care provider who is (1) an employee of your attending physician or mental health treatment provider, (2) an employee of the health facility in which you are a patient or (3) an employee of a nursing home or any adult care home where you reside.
  • a person entitled to any part of your estate by operation of law or under your will, or
  • a person with a claim against you or your estate.

What to Do With Your Signed Health Care Documents

After you have your documents witnessed and notarized, they are legally valid. Keep the originals in your files and give a copies to your health care agent, if you named one. To ensure that you get the health care that you want, it’s a good idea to make your wishes widely known. So, you might also consider giving copies of your documents to your physician, your hospital, your HMO or other insurance plan, and trusted family members and friends.

Review your documents every few years to make sure that they still reflect your wishes. Also, consider making new documents if you move to another state, get married or divorced, or if your agent is no longer able to supervise your wishes.

Your properly finalized documents will stay in effect until you revoke them, if you ever choose to do so. You can revoke at any time. The best way to revoke your advance directive or health care power of attorney is to do it in writing. If possible, also collect and tear up all copies that you may have distributed to others. Finally, tell everyone who knows about your documents that you have revoked them.

Learn More

Learn more about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.

Learn more about North Carolina Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney: What You Need to Know.

When you make an health care directive with Quicken WillMaker Plus, it will conform to all of North Carolina’s laws about advance directives and health care powers of attorney. It will also print with plain English instructions that detail how to make it legal.

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