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

In Wisconsin, you must sign your health care directives in front of two witnesses.

In Wisconsin, you may describe your wishes for health care in a living will and medical power of attorney. In your living will (sometimes called a declaration to physicians), 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 or attorney-in-fact -- to make health care decisions on your behalf in case you are no longer able to do so.

Sign Your Wisconsin Health Care Directives in Front of Two Witnesses

After you create your documents, you and two witnesses must sign them.

The witnesses for your declaration to physicians must not be:

  • related to you by blood, marriage or adoption
  • your domestic partner
  • your health care provider
  • an employee of your health care provider, other than a chaplain or a social worker
  • an employee of an inpatient health care facility where you are a patient, other than a chaplain or a social worker
  • a person directly financially responsible for your medical care
  • a person who has a claim against your estate, or
  • a person entitled to any part of your estate by operation of law or under your will.

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

  • under the age of 18
  • your health care agent
  • related to you by blood, marriage or adoption
  • your domestic partner
  • your health care provider
  • an employee of your health care provider, other than a chaplain or a social worker
  • an employee of an inpatient health care facility where you are a patient, other than a chaplain or a social worker
  • a person directly financially responsible for your medical care, or
  • a person with a claim against your estate.

What to Do With Your Signed Health Care Directives

After you and your witnesses sign the documents, they are legally valid. Keep the originals in your files and give 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 health care 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 health care 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 your documents at any time. The best way to revoke your declaration to physicians and power of attorney for health care 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

Learn more about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.

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

When you make your health care documents with Quicken WillMaker Plus, it will conform to all of Wisconsin’s laws about health care directives and it will print with plain English instructions that detail how to make it legal. 

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