West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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? Yes

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

  • Can you legally use Aging With Dignity's 5 Wishes Doc? Yes

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


(Source: West Virginia Center for End of Life Care)

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

Designated Funeral Agent

West Virginia 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.

West Virginia state law will honor the appointment of a designated funeral agent without the requirement of witnesses. To appoint a funeral agent, you must write down who that is and your funeral wishes on a signed and dated 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

West Virginia provides residents with an Indigent Burial Program, which seeks to provide a decent burial for persons who die and have no resources to pay for the interment costs at the time of death.

See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.

Home Funeral

Homes funerals, or family led funerals, are 100% legal in West Virginia. 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 West Virginia.

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 West Virginia, your rights to indicate your personal preferences are protected by Statute 16-30-4 which allows you express your funeral wishes in an advance medical directive. 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.