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NurseCentral / Forums / Nursing General / General Nursing / witnessing the wills of patients

witnessing the wills of patients

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Author witnessing the wills of patients



  • Joined: Sep 2006
  • Location:
  • Posts: 1

Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:09 pm

Hi everyone!

I'm a 3rd year student nurse and was faced with in interesting situation on my last placement.
A patient asked me to sign his will moments before he was due in theatre (minutes before actually!) I really didn't know what to do about it so I went to the NUM who phoned the social worker for me. I didn't sign it, and the patient went down for theatre as normal.

I need to present a paper about this incident and am struggling to find journal articles with regards to nurses and the signing of wills. Is there anybody who can help shed some light on the subject? I'm not sure what the rules are, whether we can or not infact sign wills, how the patients feel in this situation etc.

Any assistance in pointing me in the right direction would be grafefully appreciated.





Your country needs you!
  • Joined: Mar 2005
  • Location: Adelaide
  • Posts: 172

Sep 26, 2006, 12:57 pm


legally, anyone over the age of 18 is able to witness a Will as long as they are not beneficiaries.

Many organisations however have a policy prohibiting staff witnessing wills to protect their staff. I think you did the right thing seeking advice from the NUM and I would advise against witnessing a will for a patient. While a JP is not required, JPs will visit the hospital to witness documents if requested.



  • Joined: Apr 2006
  • Location: Macon, Georgia USA
  • Posts: 9

Sep 30, 2006, 08:44 am

Here in the US the law is pretty specific about who can witness an advanced directive (living will, power of attorney). One witness must not be related by blood, marriage, or adoption or plan to inherit any part of your will or have any claim against your estate. That witness can not be an employee or owner of a health care facility, or a person participating in you care. Here in the US a student nurse can not be a witness for a living will or power of attorney. I hope this helps :)

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