Delaware End of Life

Advance Directives 

Advance Directives are legal documents that allow you to make known your end-of-life care ahead of time. The state of Delaware 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

* Notarization is optional, but reccommended  

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


(Source: State of Delaware)

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

Designated Funeral Agent

Delaware 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.

Delaware law Title 12 Chapter 2 Section 264 states "the appointed personal representative or administrator of the decedent's estate if such person has been appointed; or the nominee for appointment as personal representative under the decedent's will if a personal representative or administrator has not been appointed;"

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

Any person, man or woman, having a legal residence in the State of Delaware, who has been unable to obtain employment, or is unable to work, who has no property or income sufficient to provide the necessities of life, who has no permanent place of abode, and no relatives or friends to care for him or her, may be considered an indigent persons and eligible for a State burial.

See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.

Home Funeral

Home funerals, or family led funerals, are 100% legal in Delaware. 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 Deleware and when it is required to involve a licensed funeral director.

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 Delaware, your personal preferences may be expressed in writing, preferrably in an advance directive and shared with your spouse, next-of-kin, or designated funeral agent.