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Advance Healthcare Planning
North Carolina Advance Directive

North Carolina Advance Directive


Jennifer Mcgee


Updated on  

November 22, 2022

9 Mins


When a person chooses to make a Living Will, along with the Medical Power of Attorney, these two legal documents become an Advance Directive. 

An Advance Directive may include your sign, names of witnesses, their signatures, etc. in adherence to your state’s requirements. Every state has different requirements to be followed. Some states ask for witnesses and notaries, others look for different criteria to be followed. 

Likewise, some states consider Living Will and Advance Directive as different and separate documents, whereas others consider both documents the same. In some states, Living Will and Advance Directive are used interchangeably. 

In this article, you will get a complete guide for making an Advance Directive for Healthcare in North Carolina.  

Legal Requirements for a valid Advance Directive

  • Written by the grantor/declarant (i.e. the maker of an Advance Directive): Yes
  • Grantor must be:
  • Above the age of 18 years: Yes
  • Sound mind and memory: Yes
  • Signed by the grantor: Yes
  • Signed by Proxy/Agent: No
  • Proxy/agent accepts his role in writing: No
  • Witness required: Yes
  • Number of witnesses: 2
  • Signed by the witnesses: Yes
  • Number of documents required: 1 
  • Other names for a Living Will in North Carolina: Advance Directive
  • Other names for a Healthcare Power of attorney in North Carolina: Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Proxy can decide on mental health issues: Yes, if the grantor has executed instructions and given such powers to his proxy/agent.

Who can be your witnesses in the North Carolina Advance Directive?

Anyone can be your witness in North Carolina if:

  • He is an adult i.e., above 18 years of age, and
  • He is a sound-minded person which means that he can understand the consequences of making an Advance Directive and the laws applied to it.

Note: Your witnesses cannot be: 

  • Your healthcare proxy/agent.
  • A person related to you or your spouse within the third degree, 
  • Entitled to a share in the estate on your death,
  • Your doctor and his employee/your mental healthcare provider and his employee,
  • An employee of a community care facility or an employee of a residential care facility for the elderly.
Advance Directive North Carolina

Who can be your Proxy in the North Carolina Advance Directive?

Anyone can be your Proxy/Agent in North Carolina if:

  • He is an adult i.e., above 18 years of age, and
  • He is a sound-minded person which means that he can understand the consequences of making an Advance Directive and the laws applied to it.

Your Proxy/Agent cannot be:

  • Any person who is providing your health care for compensation.

Other than the above legal requirements, the Proxy/Agent should be:

  • Trustable to adhere to your wishes and intentions.
  • Trustable to defend you if there’s any disagreement about your medical care.
  • He wanted to be your Attorney in Fact of his own free will to take care of your health affairs.
  •  He should not be your doctor or one of the caretakers.

Note: You can appoint an Alternate Proxy as well. The alternative Proxy/Agent will step in if the first person you name as a proxy is unable, unwilling, or unavailable to act for you or if you decide to revoke his authority.

Notarization required for North Carolina Advance Directive?

North Carolina state laws require the grantor to sign the Advance Directive Form in the presence of two witnesses and afterward get his Advance Directive notarized to make it legally binding.

The state of North Carolina maintains the Advance Directive Registry. Your healthcare providers and loved ones will easily find a copy of your directive if you file your advance directive with the registry.

Learn about the requirements of North Carolina Last Will and Testament and North Carolina Last Will and Testament Template.

When does an Advance Directive come into effect in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, an Advance Directive becomes legally valid but doesn’t come into effect on signing the form by the grantor, proxy, and witnesses. 

An Advance directive comes into effect only when the doctor declares that you are incapable of deciding on your own and have become debilitated due to illness or injury.

Note: Your North Carolina Advance Directive will not be effective in any medical crisis or emergency. Ambulance and hospital emergency department personnel are required to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) unless they are given a separate directive that states otherwise.

How can an Advance Directive be revoked?

You can revoke or terminate the Part 1 of your North Carolina Advance Directive (i.e. Appointment of your agent) at anytime in any way, for instance by:

  • A written revocation.
  • An oral revocation,
  • Tearing, burning, and obliterating or destroying the document in any other way,
  • Executing a new Advance Directive.

Note: Your revocation of Part 1 to be effective must be communicated to your supervising health-care provider, treating psychologist, and your agent.

Whereas, the Part 2 of your Advance Directive can be revoked 

  • By telling your physician that you revoke, 
  • Executing a written revocation, or 
  • Tearing up all of the copies of your advance directive.

How to amend or change an Advance Directive? 

You can make changes or amend your Advance Directive at any time in North Carolina but once it is witnessed and signed you have to remake a new document with the required changes. It is recommended to go through, double-check, and make sure of everything before signing the Advance Directive.

North Carolina rules for changing Marital status after making your Advance Directive 

Divorce from the spouse will not make any effect on the validity of the North Carolina Advance Directive unless the spouse was named as an agent in Part 1 (Appointment of an agent) of the Advance Directive form, the divorce or annulment of marriage or legal separation will revoke the Advance Directive with immediate effect. 

But if you have appointed an Alternate Agent then he will start acting as your agent in such an event of annulment of marriage or divorce.

Parts of the North Carolina Advance Directive Form

Part 1: Appointment of Healthcare Agent

You can fill this form out and provide all the details. The appointment of the Healthcare Proxy/Agent and his details will be filled along with the instructions for the Proxy/Agent to follow.

On the left side, you will find a gray box that contains all the instructions that will help you in the application process. 

North Carolina Advance Directive Sample Form


I______ , being of sound mind, (name) hereby appoint the following person(s) to serve as my health care agent(s) to act for me and in my name (in any way I could act in person) to make health care decisions for me as authorized in this document. 

My designated health care agent(s) shall serve alone, in the order named. 

A. Name: Home Address: Home Telephone: Work Telephone: Cellular Telephone: 

B. Name: Home Address: Home Telephone: Work Telephone: Cellular Telephone: 

C. Name: Home Address: Home Telephone: Work Telephone: Cellular Telephone: 

Any successor health care agent designated shall be vested with the same power and duties as if originally named as my health care agent, and shall serve any time his or her predecessor is not reasonably available or is unwilling or unable to serve in that capacity.

Part 2: Treatment Preferences (Living Will)

This section states your wishes regarding medical care when your doctor determines that either: 

  • that you are terminally ill and to prolong artificially your life you would need artificial life-sustaining procedures or your death will occur with or without the use of life-sustaining procedures, or 
  • that you are in a persistent vegetative state.

North Carolina Advance Directive Sample Form


I, , (name) being of sound mind, desire that, as specified below, my life not be prolonged by life-prolonging measures: 

1. When My Directives Apply 

My directions about prolonging my life shall apply IF my attending physician determines that I lack capacity to make or communicate health care decisions and:

[   ] I have an incurable or irreversible condition that will result in my death within a relatively short period of time. 

[   ] I become unconscious and my health care providers determine that, to a high degree of medical certainty, I will never regain my consciousness. 

[   ] I suffer from advanced dementia or any other condition which results in the substantial loss of my cognitive ability and my health care providers determine that, to a high degree of medical certainty, this loss is not reversible. 

2. These are My Directives about Prolonging My Life.



3. Exceptions – “Artificial Nutrition or Hydration” 



Part 3: Execution

You must sign in the presence of two witnesses. The details of the witnesses along with their signs are also required

North Carolina Advance Directive Sample Form


Signature Date 

I hereby state that the principal/declarant, (your name), being of sound mind, signed (or directed another to sign on declarant’s behalf) the foregoing advance directive in my presence, and that I am not related to the declarant by blood or marriage, and I would not be entitled to any portion of the estate of the declarant under any existing will or codicil of the declarant or as an heir under the Intestate Succession Act, if the declarant died on this date without a will…

Witness #1 Signature: Print name: Address: 

Witness #2 Signature: Print name: Address: 




Sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed before me this day by 

(type/print name of declarant) 

(type/print name of witness) 

(type/print name of witness) Date: 

(Official Seal) Signature of Notary Public

Give photocopies of the signed original to your agent and alternate agent, doctor(s), family, close friends, clergy, and anyone else who might become involved in your health care. If you enter a nursing home or hospital, have photocopies of your document placed in your medical records. 

Be sure to talk to your agent(s), doctor(s), clergy, family, and friends about your wishes concerning medical treatment. Discuss your wishes with them often, particularly if your medical condition changes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Advance Healthcare Directive North Carolina?

An Advance Directive is a legal-written document about your future medical care. It is a gift to family members and friends so that they won't have to guess what you want if you no longer can speak for yourself.

Does an attorney have to draft an advance directive in North Carolina?

The procedure of creating advance directives is simple, you do not require an attorney though you may choose to consult one. However, an advance directive either it is written or oral needs to be witnessed by two individuals.

Who makes medical decisions if you are incapacitated in North Carolina?

Under North Carolina law, incapacity means when a physician declares that the individual can longer give informed consent. Any person may designate someone to make health care decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated in North Carolina.

What are the 2 major challenges with advance directives?

Advance directives have limitations. For example, an older adult may not fully understand treatment options or recognize the consequences of certain choices in the future. Sometimes, people change their minds after expressing advance directives and forget to inform others.

How do I get a medical power of attorney in North Carolina?

It is the same as creating a document of Advance Directive. Firstly, choose Your Surrogate/Acting Agent, be specific on what decisions your Power of Attorney can make for you, and fill out your North Carolina Medical Power of Attorney Form. Lastly, sign your document before subscribing to witnesses and a Notary Public.
Jennifer Mcgee
Parent to five young children. Expert in Estate Planning, Probate, and Family Law Matters. Volunteer with Victim’s Advocates in the local sheriff's department...
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Got Questions?

Hi, I’m Jennifer McGee.

Co-founder & Head of Legal at TrulyWill

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