Advance Directives are legal documents that allow you to make known your end-of-life care ahead of time. The state of Tennessee 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? Yes
In the state of Tennessee, there are two separate forms required for a complete Advance Directive - A Living Will and a Health Care Proxy form. Click below to download these forms:
(Source: Tennessee Department of Health)
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 Tennessee, Death With Dignity legislation has not been passed nor submitted under a House or Senate Bill.
Tennessee 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.
Tennessee Tennessee Code, Title 34, Chapter 6, Part 2 states that the right to make disposition arrangements is given to the person named as their agent in a durable health care power of attorney.
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.
Tennessee does not offer burial assistance and most counties have ended their pauper burial services. Some funeral homes and very few counties still offer assistance.
See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.
Home funerals, or family led funerals, are 100% legal in Tennessee. 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 Tennessee.
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 Tennessee, there is not a law obligating your survivors to follow your personal preferences however you can appoint a designate funeral agent to see your wishes through. 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.