Many states prohibit certain people from serving as a witness to a living will. By avoiding the types of people listed, you will most likely avoid using an improper witness. However, to be certain of exactly who may or may not serve as a witness in your state, you should check the most current version of your state's laws.

Generally, it is not a good idea to have a witness who is:

  • your spouse;
  • your parent;
  • your child;
  • related to you by blood, adoption or marriage;
  • your physician or an employee of your physician;
  • a provider of health care to you, or an employee, agent or patient of such a health care provider;

Note: This includes places such as hospitals and nursing homes, and their administrators, operators and employees. It generally only applies to persons connected with a facility where you reside or that provides services to you. So, if you have a friend who happens to work at a nursing home, but you are not a resident of that nursing home, that friend may act as your witness.

  • entitled to any part of your estate—either by law or through your will—or who has any kind of claim against your estate;
  • a beneficiary on your life insurance policy;
  • directly financially responsible for your medical care;
  • under the age of 18; or
  • the person named as your agent in a healthcare power of attorney.