Policy #10-01

August 24, 2010

The following guidelines are followed by the Board of Registration in Embalming and Funeral Directing for the purpose of advising licensees when they must seek a new establishment certificate for a funeral establishment.


One or more duly licensed Type 3 Funeral Directors must own more than a fifty percent stake in a funeral establishment for that establishment to obtain a funeral establishment certificate and legally operate. Pursuant to MGL c. 112, §83, a funeral establishment certificate shall be deemed automatically cancelled when a change of ownership takes place. The purpose of this policy is to advise the profession as to when conditions require issuance of a new establishment certificate and render the old one invalid (and thus require operations out of said establishment to cease until a new certificate is issued).

A. Sale/Transfer of stocks/shares of the funeral establishment

A new funeral establishment certificate must be obtained whenever there is a change in the holding of the stocks/shares of the funeral establishment such that the original funeral director(s) holding more than a fifty percent share transfers such shares so that he/she/they hold less than fifty percent.

No change in ownership is deemed to have occurred for Board purposes when shares are transferred between funeral directors who were original (over 50%) owners of the funeral establishment, such that majority control transfers from one director to the other and not to any new party.

B. Death of a Funeral Director who has a non-licensed surviving spouse

According to MGL c. 112, §83, the Board may provide some form of licensure to a surviving spouse of a deceased funeral director. As such a spouse may not necessarily have the education or skills necessary to provide funeral directing and embalming services, the Board interprets this section to allow the surviving spouse to count as a funeral director for ownership purposes. For such a widow to qualify and not require a new establishment certificate, 1) the deceased funeral director must have been validly licensed upon death (not suspended, revoked, or expired), and 2) the surviving spouse must employ a duly licensed funeral director to provide services in the establishment.

C. Disciplinary action against a funeral director

Discipline against a funeral director shall require a new establishment certificate when the funeral director holds more than a fifty percent share in the establishment and:

a. His/her funeral directing license(s) have expired

b. Is revoked by the Board

c. Is suspended for more than one (1) year*

D. Name and location changes

A new establishment certificate will be required whenever the name and/or location of the funeral establishment changes. However, for name changes only, the funeral establishment need only file the first three pages of the establishment certificate application and need not certify disability compliance or provide other documentation normally required for a funeral establishment.

E. Time for compliance

Upon change of ownership, an existing funeral establishment may operate for a maximum of thirty (30) days after the change without being issued a new funeral establishment certificate. An establishment certificate must be filed within ten (10) days of the change in ownership. This transition period is not permitted for funeral establishments whose license has been revoked and/or the owner holding more than a fifty percent share has been revoked, such establishments must cease operations immediately.

* For suspensions of less than one year, the Board must give written approval to have a validly licensed funeral director to operate the establishment during the pendency of the suspension. Absent this approval, such establishments may not operate.