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Information for funeral directors

Our office releases the deceased to funeral homes acting on behalf of the deceased’s closest living relative. If your funeral home has been contacted by a family, here is what you should know.

Funeral directors handle cases that come through our office once our examination is over. They aid in reporting vital statistics, going through the funeral process, and cremations.

What you need to know

When a case comes into our office:

  • If you are aware of religious considerations that might impact how we examine or release the deceased, you should immediately contact the Intake Department at (617) 267-6767 ext. 1.

Providing vital statistics

Before picking up the deceased, your funeral home must contact the office where the examination was performed and provide vital statistics. Vital statistics include the deceased’s:

  • Spelling of legal name

  • Sex and race

  • Date of birth

  • Home address

  • Social security number

  • Marital status at time of death

  • Name and age of children

  • Closest legal living relative (including name, address, phone number, and relationship to the deceased)

You can call our offices with vital information during our office hours:

  • Cape and Worcester offices: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
  • Boston and Holyoke offices: Sunday-Saturday 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.

We cannot release the deceased to you if the vital statistics you report are different from the information reported to our office. We will first ask a medical legal investigator to get information to resolve the difference. If they cannot get the information, then we will ask the funeral director. You can correct vital statistics using the deceased’s:

  • Driver’s license

  • State I.D. card

  • Birth certificate

  • Marriage certificate

  • Passport

  • Social security card

Release to funeral home

The deceased will be ready for release from our office when:

  • The medical examiner has completed the examination

  • You have reported all vital statistics

  • The deceased is identified at our office or will be identified at your funeral home

In most cases, the deceased will be ready within 24-48 hours.

When you pick up the deceased:

  • You must provide a release on your funeral home letterhead signed by the deceased’s legal closest living relative

  • You must review and sign a Funeral Home Acknowledgement Form

  • All of the deceased’s personal items will be released to you, unless our office needs them for evidence purposes

You can contact our offices at with any questions regarding a case release.

You can pick up the deceased any time during our allotted office hours:

  • Boston Office: Any time. Office is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Main office phone: (617) 267-6767 ext. 3.

  • Sandwich Office:  Monday-Friday  9 a.m., 3:30 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Main office phone: (508) 539-2200.

  • Holyoke Office:  Sunday-Saturday 8 a.m.-8:30 a.m., 3:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Main office phone: (413) 538-6213.

  • Worcester Office: Monday-Friday 9 a.m., 3:30 p.m.-4:15 p.m. Main office phone: (508) 856-3501.

Picking up the deceased

You must provide a release authorizing you to pick up the deceased from our office. The release must be on funeral home letterhead. It must include:

  • Name of the deceased

  • Name, address, and signature of the closest legal living relative or other authorized party

  • Relationship to the deceased

If you requested a cremation authorization, you must provide proof of your cremation fee payment.

Cremations

Bodies that will be cremated or buried at sea must be viewed by our office to make sure no further inquiries into the death are needed.  

You can request a cremation authorization when you report the vital statistics. You must provide a proof of payment for the cremation fee. The cremation authorization will be given to you when you pick up the deceased.

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