State Rules - Massachusetts

Consumers Guide to Planning a Funeral

(Commonweath of Massachusetts, Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation) 

A brief primer on what the Massachusetts consumer should consider before talking with a funeral director. It includes a brief section on Pre-Paid ("Pre-Need") Funeral Arrangements. BEFORE ENTERING INTO ANY PRE-NEED CONTRACT, please think about the FCA general position on pre-need contracts: We encourage people to plan ahead, but not necessarily to pay ahead.

Detailed Regulations re: Pre-Paid ("Pre-Need") Funeral Arrangements

You can study and print out a copy of the actual pre-need funeral contract form that funeral directors must use (approved by the Massachusetts Board) by clicking on http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/docs/dpl/boards/em/em-preneedcontract.pdf

Be sure you can answer these question: What happens if I change my mind? Can I change my arrangements?  How difficult will it be to do so?  Will any changes affect the agreement on costs? Consider having an attorney or, at the very least, someone whose judgment you trust, go over the completed paperwork with you before you sign anything (or before the 10-day "cooling off" period expires).

Guidelines for the Issuance of Burial Permits and Disposition of Human Remains  (Commonweath of Massachusetts, Office of Health and Human Services)  

This is a must for anyone in Massachusetts who is considering caring for their own dead. It is also a source of basic information about what must be done in Massachusetts from the time a death occurs through the final disposition of a body or ashes.  Caution: this page is under revision (late 2015), and has some sections that are misleading.


 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

TO READ THE SPECIFIC LAWS THAT APPLY IN MASSACHUSETTS...


Cemeteries And Burials. Cemetery And Crematory Corporations (General Laws Of Massachusetts, Chapter 114) 

The primary source for looking up the actual wording of the laws about cemeteries, crematories, and burials. 


Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (General Laws Of Massachusetts, Chapter 113A)

Laws related to body and tissue donation.


Veterans' Benefits (General Laws Of Massachusetts. Chapter 115)

Includes some provisions related to final arrangements specific to veterans.


Registration of Embalmers, Funeral Directors... (General Laws Of Massachusetts, Chapter 112, section 83)


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

More Massachusetts-specific links


The Forum For Massachusetts Law

http://www.malawforum.com 

A question and answer column and legal resource clearinghouse for MA residents set up by Mark Bernardin, who spoke at our 2005 Annual meeting. He is co-author of Choosing Your Path: How Massachusetts Residents Can Take Control of their Medical Care, Estate Plans, and Funeral Arrangements. 


Pre-paying for Your Funeral in Massachusetts

http://www.funeralethics.org/MA.pdf

A summary of what you should know and what you should watch out for IF prepaying for a funeral in Massachusetts.  Prepared by the Funeral Ethics Organization, which has also published a series of pamplets (one for each state) on Consumer Rights.  Go to http://www.funeralethics.org/rights.htm  and select Massachusetts.

http://www.funeralethics.org/MACR.pdf


Caring for your own deadGuidelines for Burial or Cremation Without a Funeral Director  (compiled by the FCA of Eastern Massachusetts)