Is a Notary Required for a California Living Will?

••• Hemera Technologies/ Images

Related Articles

Advanced health care directives allow you some control over end-of-life decisions. A living will is an advance health care directive in which you list out the types of medical treatment that are acceptable and unacceptable to you. Living wills are enforced in California if properly witnessed, although a notary is not always required.

Advanced Health Care Directives

The time may come when you are not able to make medical decisions for yourself. California residents can control these issues to some extent by making advanced health care directives, legal documents naming an agent to make medical decisions and setting up boundaries about the types of care received.

Read More: Pros & Cons of an Advanced Directive

Power of Attorney and Living Will

California authorizes two kinds of health care documents. One is a durable power of attorney for health care, in which you identify the person you wish to manage your medical care if you become incompetent. The other is the living will in which you set out your decisions about end-of-life issues, like whether your life should be prolonged if you are in an irreversible coma.

Witness Requirements

In California, you must sign your health care directive or else direct another adult to sign it in your presence. Your signature must then be acknowledged either by a notary public or by two adult witnesses. Employees of your health care provider or care facility are among those who cannot serve as witnesses.


About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson,,, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images