Will My Health Care Documents Work Out Of State?

We often get this question  from clients: “I travel; will my Maryland health care documents work in other states if I am sick or injured?” Several years ago our family had a tragic car accident far from home, so this topic is very real to us.

The simple answer is “probably.”

In Maryland, our advance directives (living wills) and health care powers of attorneys are signed in front of two witnesses. According to a recent survey of state laws, this is adequate in 48 states. The two exceptions are geographically close to us: West Virginia and North Carolina. They require both witnesses AND a Notary block. So if you are a Marylander who spends time in either of these states, it may be wise to update your documents to a format that is both witnessed and notarized. Otherwise, you can be confident that crossing state lines won’t make your health care documents invalid.