Do I Need to Have My New Jersey Living Will Witnessed or Notarized?

In New Jersey, you must sign your health care directives in front of two witnesses or a notary public.

In New Jersey, your health care directives may consist of one or more documents, depending on your wishes.

  • Use an Instruction Directive (commonly called a living will) to leave instructions about the kind of health care you would like to receive if you become incapacitated.
  • Use a Proxy Directive (commonly called a health care power of attorney) to name a trusted person (called your health care agent) to make health care decisions on your behalf.
  • Or, use a Combined Advance Directive for Health Care to leave health care instructions AND name a health care agent.  This form combines the instruction directive and proxy directive into a single form.  

Signing Requirements for New Jersey Health Care Directives

After you make your document, you must sign it and have it either witnessed by two witnesses or notarized. If you choose to have a document witnessed, neither of your witnesses may be under the age of 18 or your health care representative.

What to Do With Your Signed Health Care Directive

After you sign your document and have it either witnessed or notarized, it is legally valid. Keep the original in your files and give a copy 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. You might also consider giving copies of your document to your physician, your hospital, your HMO or other insurance plan, and trusted family members and friends.

Review your document every few years to make sure that it still reflects your wishes. Also, consider making a new document 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 document will stay in effect until you revoke it, if you ever choose to do so. You can revoke your document at any time. The best way to revoke 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 document that you have revoked it.

More Information

Learn more about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.

Learn more about New Jersey Instruction Directives and Proxy Directives.

When you make a health care directive with Quicken WillMaker Plus, it will conform to New Jersey law and it will print with plain English instructions that detail how to make it legal.

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