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

In Washington, you must sign your health care documents in front of two witnesses.

In Washington, you may describe your wishes for health care in a  living will and medical power of attorney. In your living will  (sometimes called a  health care directive), you may 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 may 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.

Sign Your Washington Health Care Documents in Front of Two Witnesses

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 health care power of attorney, we suggest that your witnesses be at least 18 years old and that your health care agent not act as a witness.

What to Do With Your Signed Documents

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 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 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 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 a health care document at any time. The best way to revoke a health care document 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 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 -- and they will print with plain English instructions that tell you how to make them legal.  

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