Other Funeral Consumers Alliance sites
We are an affiliate of the national Funeral Consumers Alliance, Inc.
The national FCA website www.funerals.org provides access to a vast amount of information, directly or via extensive links, to virtually anything related to death care and end of life issues! You can join the FCA discussion group where the very latest issues and developments are reported and discussed by FCA members including affiliate and national leaders. You can locate FCA affiliates in other regions, e.g.,
FTC (Federal Trade Commission): Consumer Rights under the Funeral Rule
FTC Consumer Protection: Shopping for Funerals (also available in Spanish)
FTC FACTS for Consumers: Paying Final Respects: Your Rights When Buying Funeral Goods & Services (pdf of 9-page booklet)
Social Security: Survivor Benefits
Veterans' Death Benefits for survivors
Your Funeral Consumer Rights (Funeral Ethics Organization) - concise summaries of the rights in each state; select Massachusetts to view or print the two-page brochure for our state.
How to File a Complaint
FTC (Federal Trade Commission): call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
MA Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation:
Consumer Hotline: (617) 973-8787 or (888) 283-3757 toll free (MA only)
Division of Professional Licensure:
DPL Office of Investigations, Consumer Line (617) 727-7406
FCA article: Funeral home complaints: reasonable or unreasonable?
What to Do When Someone Dies (links)
From LegalVoice: After Death Occurs--A Checklist
Social Security: How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies (pdf) and Cómo el Seguro Social le puede ayudar cuando fallece un miembro de su familia.
UncleFed's Tax Board: Checklist: What To Do When Someone Dies
Donation of organs, tissues or whole body
Understanding Donation (Donate Life)
Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, click on "How to Make a Donation"
Whole body donation to medical schools in Massachusetts:
- Anatomical Gift Program (UMass-Worcester), Frequently Asked Questions
- Harvard Anatomical Gift Program
- Tufts Anatomical Gift Program
See also "Giving Life When Life Ends" in our Fall 2011 Newsletter (pdf)
Family-Managed Death Care
Undertaken With Love: A Home Funeral Guide for Congregations and Communities
Home Funeral Directory: Resources and information about home funerals, how to find a guide, a celebrant, or workshops and training.
Green Burial in Massachusetts (GBM website with lists of resources)
Hospice, End-of-Life Care, Medical Directives
POLST (Physician’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) and
MOLST (Massachusetts Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)
Five Wishes (from Aging with Dignity; available in many languages)
Northampton Community Forum "A Matter of Life and Death" with 5 panelists discussing end-of-live issues in front of standing-room-only crowd, Feb. 25, 2014 (NCTV video. 1hr, 40min)
Talking about it - Starting the Conversation
The Conversation Project (Ellen Goodman)
Death Cafés - a global movement
Death over Dinner, a call to action, with tools to help people start. See team.
Huffington Post Dec 2013 article about Death over Dinner, Conversation Project.
Wake Up to Dying project, an "awareness and action campaign that encourages people to think and to talk about dying."
VIDEO: Ask a Mortician (Caitlin Doughty), Episode 6, Decomposition
Books to read
Too many to list here, but look at these reading guides:
Book List (National Home Funeral Alliance)
Best Books on Preparing for Death (selected and reviewed by existential philosopher and medical ethicist James Park)
Death & Dying Resource Guide (Tricyle, 2012)
Death Cafe Resource Library
Exploring Death in America (bibliography by NPR All Things Considered)
Suggested books: Grief re Death of a Parent (of adult). (Allina Health)
Children's Books About Death (pdf from NAEYC)
10 Things Your Funeral Director Won't Tell You (SmartMoney Article, 2010)
Planning a Funeral (pdf) excellent general article, including a checklist of "Tasks" and a page about cemeteries (Boston Consumers' Checkbook, 2005)