The State Organization Index provides an alphabetical listing of government organizations, including commissions, departments, and bureaus.
Top-requested sites to log in to services provided by the state
A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on burial, cremation, and funeral law
Issues to Consider in Preparing for Disposition of Decedents, Mass. Dept. of Public Health, Division of Community Sanitation
Includes detailed information on death certificates, transportation, preparing the body, cremation, burial, green burial, burial at sea, and more, with links to applicable laws and regulations.
Cemeteries and Burials. The state's primary cemetery, burial and cremation law
MGL c.7, s.38A
Skeletal remains; preservation; excavation; analysis. Handling possible American Indian remains
MGL c.7C, s.43
Procedure after notice of evaluation to determine presence of possible American Indian remains
MGL c.9, s.26A State archeologist; duties; reservation of lands from sale; cooperation of governmental agencies
MGL c.9, s.27C
Requirements to notify state archeologist if remains are found during public construction project
MGL c.38, § 6 Unmarked human skeletal remains; notice to office of chief medical examiner; inquiry; notification of commission on Indian affairs
MGL c.46, § 9 Death certificates; issuance; contents; declaration of death by nurse, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant. Describes the procedure for issuance of death certificates.
MGL c.114, s.43M Cremation Remains. Authorizes funeral establishments to dispose of cremated remains that have not been claimed within 12 months of cremation. The funeral establishment must keep permanent records.
MGL c.117A, s.9
Final disposition of deceased persons; recovery of expenses from deceased's kindred. In some circumstances, the state will pay up to $1100 for the burial expenses of those who die without any money, but "may recover this expense from any legally liable family members."
MGL c.190B, s.3-701
Prior to appointment, a person named executor in a will may carry out written instructions of the decedent relating to the decedent's body, funeral and burial arrangements
MGL. c. 272 s. 42 Disturbance of Funerals: Whoever wilfully interrupts or by fast driving or otherwise in any way disturbs a funeral assembly or procession shall be punished as provided in section forty
MGL c. 272 s.40
Disturbance of Schools or Assemblies: Penalty for disturbing an assembly (funeral)
106 CMR 705.700-705.710 Funeral and Final Disposition Expenses
239 CMR Rules and Regulations Governing Funeral Directors and Embalmers
505 CMR 1 Disclosure of Autopsy Reports
505 CMR 2 Release of Unclaimed or Unidentified Bodies
505 CMR 4 Cremation Fees
16 CFR 453 Funeral Industry Practices. The "funeral rule"
40 CFR 229.1 Burial at Sea
Brown v. Bayview Crematory, LLC , 79 Mass. App. Ct. 337 (2011)
Jury could find that "plaintiffs suffered injury due to mental distress occasioned by the defendant's handling of the remains of the plaintiffs' mother...even where the jury found that the plaintiffs did not suffer sufficient physical manifestation or objective symptoms to recover for negligently inflicted emotional distress."
Burney v. Childrens Hospital , 169 Mass. 57 (1897)
Discusses the right to possession of a body for the purpose of burial
Kelly v. Brigham & Women's Hospital, 51 Mass. App. Ct. 297 (2001)
Discusses the elements of a wrongful autopsy claim
LaCava v. Lucander , 58 Mass. App. Ct. 527 (2003)
The right to be buried in a cemetery of one's choosing is not a fundamental right for purposes of equal protection
LeBlanc v. Commonwealth , 457 Mass. 94 (2010)
Where there was understandable confusion about whether a body released to parents was the correct body, but in fact there was no error, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner had no obligation to tell the family that the autopsy report had been corrected and that the body was, in fact, that of their son
O'Dea v. Mitchell , 350 Mass. 163 (1966)
The plaintiffs' standing for unlawful burial rests on the statement that they are "next of kin" to the decedent, and therefore have the right to possession of the decedent's body. That right vests, however, in the next of kin only when there is no surviving spouse or no contrary provision by the decedent concerning the disposition of his remains.
Silva v. Attleboro , 454 Mass. 165 (2009)
A Superior Court judge did not err in holding that monetary charges imposed by certain municipalities for the issuance of burial permits were valid regulatory fees rather than improper taxes, where the charges were reasonably proportional to the amounts expended by the local boards of health in administering the permit process, and were charged in exchange for a particular governmental service benefiting the party paying the charge, that is, a well-regulated industry for the disposal of human remains.
Consumer law, 3rd ed. (Mass. Practice Series vol. 35 - 36A), 2010 with 2016-17 supplement. Funeral Services, section 30:40 - 30:49.
The Law of Human Remains, Tanya Marsh, Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, Inc., 2016.
Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death, Joshua Slocum and Lisa Carlson, Upper Access, 2011.
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