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Are Living Wills and Health POA legal if notarized/ witnessed as free hospital service? Any steps needed after that?

Hendersonville, NC |

I plan on downloading Advanced Directive forms from the NC Secretary site to take to our local hospital for witness and notary- service they provide for free. I am just trying to educate myself on this process without the more extensive estate planning services of an attorney at this time. I appreciate your help.

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

If all formalities are followed under state law it should be, but you should still retain the services of an attorney to explain the details to you and no one can promise that a downloaded form will be honored when needed.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/

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Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Posted

Agreed, good answer.

Posted

Your free forms could work if properly executed but do replace the documents that an attorney could provide plus the value of an attorney relationship when difficult times come.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Posted

I agree. Planning documents from an attorney who knows the law and can question you properly are worth more than you can imagine when it comes time to use the documents. By then it is too late to correct errors or oversights.

Posted

Attorney Zelinger is correct. Provided that the forms are properly executed, they should be legal, especially if down-loaded from a state government website. With that said, they may or may not do what you want them to do, so a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer is really in your interests. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Posted

Agreed, good answer.

Posted

In addition to what the others have said, some of the benefit you get with an attorney is you have someone who can both assess the principal's mental capacity and defend the forms, if someone challenges you. The problem with the do-it-yourself approach is that it is more likely that people will refuse to accept the documents. If that happens, you are stuck with probate appointment of a guardian/conservator.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Posted

Agreed, good answer.

Posted

I agree with all of the attorneys that said the documents you reference, provided they contain appropriate language and are properly executed by a competent principal can be valid, notwithstanding that the service is free. Nevertheless I also agree that there are disadvantages in doing it yourself inasmuch as an attorney can assist with competency issues and advise concerning a myriad of other issues, including other documents that may be appropriate, such as wills, durable powers of attorney, trusts, Medicaid issues, and many more. Your inquiry suggests that you may be pursuing more comprehensive legal work later. Be sure that later does not become too late. Best of luck to you. This answer is subject to the disclaimer below.

The foregoing is general information based upon limited information, should not be construed as legal advice , and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The author is licensed in Indiana and Ohio attorney only.

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Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Posted

Agreed, good answer.

Posted

Bravo on planning ahead about healthcare decisions that might need to be made for in the future. Less than 1 in 10 people in the U.S. do - and most that do not also don't realize the great gift they could be giving their family / those that care for them by doing this.

I used to be a inhouse counsel at a hospital so my advice comes from that perspective:

Pick and execute a form that makes sense to you - if you believe that you understand what you are signing chances are that the doctors and other healthcare professionals who made read it in the future will be able to understand it as well.

If you appoint someone to make decisions for you in the event of incapacity (and an alternate in case person number 1 isn't available), make sure they know this and feel comfortable serving in that role. The first person I asked said "no, I can't". Even if they agree, they may also want to talk about your preferences ahead of time - or they may not.

Give anyone you think might care a copy of your directive - that includes you primary care physician, family members, etc. North Carolina has a "registry", but this is still a good idea even if you "register" your completed document.

Also, if your wish is to avoid resuscitation by the local EMS when you aren't in the hospital, talk with your physician and see if a out of hospital DNR form would be appropriate. There's more information about these on the website where you mentioned.

Good luck.

This response is intended to provide general information, but not legal advice. The response may be different if there are other or different facts than those included in the original question. See MKnutsonLaw.com for more information on why this communication is not privileged or create an attorney-client relationship.

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Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Bonnie Klein Rhoden

Posted

Agreed, good answer.

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