New Hampshire 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 Hampshire 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? Yes

  • 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 DocNo

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


(Source: New Hampshire Foundation for Healthy Communities)

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.

The New Hampshire legislature considered Death with Dignity only marginally in the 2016 session.

In a repeat of last year’s effort, the legislature once again considered a bill that would establish a committee to study end-of-life choices. The bill, SB 426, passed out of the Senate and the House Judiciary Committee. The House then voted the bill down on May 11.

See Death with Dignity's New Hampshire  page to follow Death with Dignity legislation in New Hampshire.

Designated Funeral Agent

New Hampshire 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 Hampshire Statute 20-:17 outlines the Custody and Control of Remains of the Deceased, "I. If the subject has designated a person to have custody and control in a written and signed document, custody and control belong to that 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. 

This may be accomplished in a variety of ways: on the Advance Directive form you choose or in a separate instrument (not in the Will).

New Hampshire doesn't have a state-issued form, but anything in written form that spells out preferences properly and has witnesses is likely going to fulfill the requirements of the law. You can also use the Designated Funeral Agent form provided by NH Funeral Resources, Education, & Advocacy website:


It is advised NOT to put the Designated Funeral Agent in your Will since the Will is often not found or read until after the funeral. A separate and available document should be completed and distrubuted to those who are likely to be in charge. 

Financial Assistance

The state of New Hampshire does not provide burial assistance. Any persons have the right to be decently buried or cremated, and where applicable, at the expense of the town or city in which the assisted person was a resident.

See our Financial Assistance Chart for more details.

Home Funerals

Home funerals, or family led funerals, are 100% legal in New Hampshire. Your family or appointed agent may care for the deceased and handle all your funeral arrangements without a funeral director.

Personal Preference Law

Personal preference laws for body disposition obligate your survivors to follow your written 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 Hampshire, your personal preferences should be expressed in writing in your Advance Directive or Designated Funeral Agent form along with specifically telling your spouse, next-of-kin, or designated funeral agent.