Montana 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 Montana 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 Doc? No

* Although notarization is not required, it is recommended. 

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


(Source: Montana Department of Justice)

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. 

Although there is no formal legislation for Death with Dignity in Montana, in December 2009, Montana's Supreme Court ruled nothing in the state law prohibited a physician from honoring a terminally ill, mentally competent patient's request by prescribing medication to hasten the patient's death. Since the ruling, several bills have been introduced to codify or ban the practice, but none of those bills have become law.

Designated Funeral Agent

Montana 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.

Montana Code 37-19-904 allows for "a person who is 18 years of age or older and of sound mind wishing to authorize another person to control the disposition of the person's remains may execute an affidavit or a written instrument before a notary". 

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

The state of Montana does not provide burial assistance although a county may provide for the burial, entombment, or cremation of indigents.

See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.

Home Funerals

Home funerals, or family led funerals, are 100% legal in Montana. 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:

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

Personal Preference Law

In Montana, there is not a law obligating your survivors to follow your personal preferences. However, 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.