Indiana End of Life Guide

Advance Directives 

Advance Directives are legal documents that allow you to make known your end-of-life care ahead of time. The state of Indiana recognizes your right to decide the terms of your own medical treatment and to assign a person to make those decisions when you are not able to do so. 

Here are some important questions to consider before beginning this process:

  • Is this document(s) state specific? Yes

  • Does this document(s) need to be notarized? No

  • Does this document(s) require witnesses? If so, how many? Yes / 2

  • Can you legally use Aging With Dignity's 5 Wishes Doc? No

In the state of Indiana, there are three separate forms required for a complete Advance Directive - A Living Will, a Health Care Proxy form, and a Life-Prolonging Procedures Declaration. Click the buttons below to download these forms:




(Source: Indiana University Health)

Death with Dignity

Death with Dignity laws allow the dying more control of their death and end-of-life decisions. These laws allow terminally-ill, able-minded state residents to request and receive prescription medication to hasten their death.

In Indiana, Death With Dignity legislation has not been passed nor submitted under a House or Senate bill.

Designated Funeral Agent

Indiana law supports the appointment of a designated funeral agent to follow through on your written personal preferences (see below) or make funeral arrangements on your behalf if no written preferences are indicated.

Indiana Code obligates the use of Indiana's official Funeral Planning Declaration Form, signed and dated in front of two adult witnesses.

The appointment of a designated funeral agent will override the next-of-kin's usual authority and let the citizen designate whom he/she wants to control the disposition of his body.

According to the Funeral Consumers Alliance, if you do not fill out a Funeral Planning Declaration, your health care power of attorney named in an advance medical directive has the right to “make plans for the disposition of the principal’s body.” 

NOTE – a person named in your Funeral Planning Declaration has legal priority over an agent named in your durable power of attorney for health care when it comes to the disposition of your dead body.


Financial Assistance

The state of Indiana provides burial assistance. Deceased TANF recipients are eligible for Burial Assistance, as well as recipients in the Medicaid Aged, Blind, and Disabled categories. 

See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.

Home Funerals

Indiana is one of 10 states that does not allow the family all power in home funerals or has conflicting law, necessitating the use of a funeral director for some purposes. Indiana law causes confusion on home funerals since it says burial permits can only be given to funeral directors, though other statutes clearly refer broadly to the “person in charge” of the disposition e.g. the next of kin.

Check with the National Home Funeral Alliance for up-to-date details on how to navigate home funerals in Indiana and when it is required to involve a licensed funeral director.

Personal Preference Law

Personal preference laws for body disposition obligate your survivors to follow your written [or verbal] personal preferences. This often goes hand-in-hand with designating a funeral agent to follow through with your funeral or body disposition preferences.

Indiana law supports the indicating of your personal preferences on the Funeral Planning Declaration Form. We always recommend outlining your funeral preference in writing and sharingthem with your designated funeral agent, next-of-kin, or spouse, giving you the best chance of having them seen through or upheld in the courts.