Finalizing a Declaration and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care in the District of Columbia

In Washington D.C., you must have your health care directive documents signed by two witnesses.

Related Ads

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Lawyer

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

searchbox small

In Washington D.C, your health care directive will include one or two documents:

  • a Declaration (commonly called a living will), if you leave health care instructions and/or
  • a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care with which you can name an attorney-in-fact to make health care decisions on your behalf.

Whether you make one or two documents, after you create them, you and two witnesses must sign them to make them legal.

For your Declaration, neither of your witnesses may be:

  • under the age of 18
  • related to you by blood, marriage or domestic partnership
  • your attending physician
  • an employee of your attending physician
  • an employee of a health care facility where you are a patient
  • the person who signed your declaration for you, if you were unable to sign it yourself
  • a person entitled to any part of your estate by operation of law or under your will, or
  • a person directly financially responsible for your medical care.

If you are a patient in a skilled care facility, one witness must be a patient advocate or ombudsman.

For your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, neither of your witnesses may be:

  • under the age of 18
  • your health care attorney-in-fact
  • your health care provider, or
  • an employee of your health care provider.

In addition, one of your witnesses must not be related to you by blood, marriage or adoption and must not be entitled to any part of your estate by operation of law or under your will.

After you and your witnesses sign your documents, they are legally valid. Keep the originals in your files and give copies to your attorney-in-fact, 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 attorney-in-fact 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 your documents at any time. The best way to revoke your documents 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 about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.

Learn more about D.C.'s Living Wills and Powers of Attorney for Health Care.

When you make a health care directive with Quicken WillMaker Plus, it will conform to all of Washington D.C.’s laws about living wills and powers of attorney for health care. And it will print with plain English instructions that detail how to make it legal.

by: , Attorney

Create Your Estate Plan

WillMaker

Get Started with Quicken WillMaker Plus!

Everything you need to create a complete estate plan:

Write a legally valid will

Avoid probate with Nolo's Living Trust

Create a health care directive

Create a durable power of attorney

Prepare executor documents

Save on attorneys fees

Find an Estate Planning Lawyer

Need professional help?
Enter your zip code to find an estate planning lawyer. (e.g., 10110)
LA-NOLO1:DRU.1.6.1.20140626.27175