Maine 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 Maine 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? No

  • 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 DocYes

There is a single Advance Directive form for Maine that you can download by clicking the button below:


(Source: Maine Department of Health and Human Services)

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 Maine, Death with Dignity legislation was introduced into the legislature in 2015 under LD 1270. It passed in the House but fell one vote short in the Senate in June 2015. It is expected that the bill will be reintroduced in the next legislature.  Visit the Death With Dignity website to stay up to date with Main Death with Dignity legislation.

Designated Funeral Agent

Maine 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.

Maine law obligates, "The custody and control of the remains of the deceased residents of this State, dead bodies or dead human bodies are governed by the following provisions in the folllowinf order of priority: If the subject has designated another person to have custody and control in a wirtten and signed document..."

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

Financial Assistance

In Maine, financial assistance may be available if the deceased was on the general assistance program. The deceased must be on the general assistance program in order to receive benefits.

See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.

Home Funeral

Home funerals, or family led funerals, are 100% legal in Maine. Your family or appointed agent may care for the deceased and handle all your funeral arrangements and necessary paperwork (permits and certificates) without a funeral director.

Last Things is a helpful Maine-specific online resource on all things Home Funerals and Green Burial.

You can also check with the National Home Funeral Alliance for up-to-date details on how to navigate home funerals in Maine.

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.

In Maine, you may indicate your personal preferences in addition to a designated funeral agent. We always recommend outlining your funeral preference in writing and sharing them 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.