Finalizing a Health Care Directive and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care in Washington

In Washington, you and two witnesses must sign your health care documents.

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In Washington, to document your health care wishes, you can make 1) a Health Care Directive to describe the type of medical care you would like to receive, and 2) a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care to name a trusted person to make health care decisions for you in case you can not make those decisions yourself.  After you create your documents, you and two witnesses must sign them.

The witnesses for your health care directive must not be:

  • related to you by blood or marriage
  • your attending physician
  • an employee of your attending physician
  • an employee of a health care facility where you are a patient
  • a person entitled to any part of your estate by operation of law or under your will, or
  • a person with a claim against your estate.

Although the law does not restrict who can serve as a witness for your power of attorney for health care, we suggest that your witnesses be at least 18 years old and that your health care agent not act as a witness.

After you and your witnesses sign your documents, they are legally valid. Keep the originals 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. 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 document every few years to make sure that it still reflects 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 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 your power of attorney and health care directive 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 Washington Living Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care.

When you make health care documents with Quicken WillMaker Plus, they will conform to all of Washington’s laws about health care directives and powers of attorney for health care. It will also print with plain English instructions that detail how to make it legal. 


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