New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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? No*

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

* Although witnesses are not required, they are recommended. 

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


(Source: New Mexico Presbyterian)

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. 

State Representatives Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) and Bill McCamley (D-Las Cruces) introduced H 171, End of Life Options Act, a medical aid-in-dying bill on January 20, 2017.

See Death with Dignity's New Mexico page for more information.

Designated Funeral Agent

New Mexico 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.

New Mexico law Section 24-12A-1 states that an individual may "authorize his own cremation and the lawful disposition of his cremated remains by stating his a written statement that is signed by the individual and notarized or witnessed by two person.

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.

New Mexico Cremation Authorization

Financial Assistance

The state of New Mexico assists in payment of burial expenses for an individual who was a low-income individual at the time of death. A request for payment of funeral expenses may come from the family, the mortuary, or other persons furnishing funeral services to any project area on behalf of the state General Assistance fund program.

See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.

Home Funeral

Home funerals, or family led funerals, are 100% legal in New Mexico. 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 New Mexico.

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 New Mexico, you may authorized your own cremation using the New Mexico Cremation Authorization Form . Otherwise, 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.