We’ve got a second chance!
National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) has designated July 16 as a second opportunity this year for organizations to help their communities focus on the importance of planning in advance for their future health care wishes. As NHDD has traditionally fallen on April 16—the day after Tax Day—this new date of July 16 is the day after the new Tax Day of July 15.
In North Carolina, we are especially excited about this opportunity, as the NC General Assembly has made it easier to complete an Advance Directive (Health Care Power of Attorney and Declaration of Desire for a Natural Death, also known as a Living Will).
In COVID-19 response bills that unanimously passed the NC House and Senate, the NC General Assembly made important changes to the state’s advance directive requirements.
The General Statutes have been amended to temporarily waive the requirement that two witnesses sign the Advance Directive. With this change, North Carolina now joins 46 other states who have less stringent requirements than we do, making it easier to make one’s wishes legally recognized and followed.
A second amendment allows for remote notarization. With this change, North Carolina joins 36 other states who allow for remote notarization of legal documents.
NCSL 2020-3, signed into law on May 4 by Governor Roy Cooper, enables all of us to have more flexibility in preparing important legal documents until August 1, 2020, merely a few weeks from now. Video notarization and witnessing has been extended until March 1, 2021. We will continue to advocate with our legislators to extend the waiver of two witnesses, which makes completing advance directives so much easier.
Let’s rev up again for a do-over for National Healthcare Decisions Day 2.0. Let’s make sure that the people we serve around the state take advantage of this opportunity to more easily participate in having a voice in their future health care.
Click here for more information on NHDD 2.0.
Note: MMH is a free, easy-to-use online ACP tool available on all electronic devices. Using the platform, individuals can store their legally recognized advance directive in a secure, encrypted, cloud-based registry. The uploaded advance directive contains a person’s instructions for future health care and legally authorizes someone to make decisions on their behalf if they are incapacitated. It can then be shared electronically with designated staff and loved ones.