Finalizing a Declaration and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, you and two witnesses must sign both your declaration (living will) and your health care power of attorney.

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In Pennsylvania, your health care directive may include one or two documents, depending on your wishes. In your Declaration (commonly called a living will), you can describe and document the kind of health care you would like to receive if you can no longer speak for yourself.  In your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, you can name a trusted person -- called your health care agent -- to make health care decisions on your behalf in case you are no longer able to do so.

After you create your documents, you and two witnesses must sign them both. Neither of your witnesses may be:

  • under the age of 18, or
  • the person who signed your declaration for you, if you were unable to sign it yourself.

After you and your witnesses sign the documents, 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 declaration and power of attorney for health care will stay in effect until you revoke them, if you ever choose to do so. You can revoke your documents 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 health care documents that you have revoked them.

Learn more about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.

Learn more about Pennsylvania Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney.

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

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