North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 DocYes

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


(Source: North Dakota Department of Human Services)

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 North Dakota, Death with Dignity legislation has not been passed nor submitted under a House or Senate bill.

Designated Funeral Agent

North Dakota Century Code 23-06-03 states that the "right and responsibility for making funeral arrangements goes first to a surviving spouse and then to your next of kin". Although North Dakota does not allow the naming of a designated funeral agent, ND does allow an individual to state their disposition preferences in legally binding documents such as pre-need funeral contract or advance directive. 

Financial Assistance

The state of North Dakota does not provide assistance for burials. If the deceased did not leave sufficient means to defray funeral expenses, including the cost of a casket, the county social service board of residence or the county social service board of the county in which the death occurs shall employ some person to arrange burial or cremation.

See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.

Home Funeral

Home funerals, or family led funerals, are 100% legal in North Dakota. 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 North Dakota.

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 North Dakota, there is not a law obligating your survivors to follow your personal preferences. However, indicated your wishes in an advance directive or pre-need funeral contract give weight to the request. 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.