Individuals caring for deceased relatives and friends are encouraged to plan carefully and communicate in advance with any facilities and agencies that may be involved, such as a hospital, hospice, nursing home, board of health, funeral home, crematory or cemetery, to avoid confusion about the law or other requirements.
There are generally two options for final disposition of a body in Massachusetts: cremation, or burial in an approved cemetery. Cremation must occur in a crematory approved by both the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and burial must occur in a cemetery that has been approved by the local board of health and authorized by the municipal government (e.g., town meeting).
The NHFA empowers families to care for their own dead by providing educational opportunities and connections to resources that promote environmentally sound and culturally nurturing death practices. This is the place to find information about home funerals, including directories for where to find home funeral guides, home funeral education programs, home-funeral-friendly funeral directors, celebrants and clergy, and groups who will help families when needed. Our goal is to educate the public to their choices and provide clear information.
The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts (FCAWM) is a non-sectarian, non-profit membership organization whose mission is to promote and protect a consumer's right to choose meaningful, dignified, and affordable final arrangements.
We are independent of the funeral industry. We aim to provide neutral, reliable information about your rights and options for funeral or memorial services, care of the body, and disposition of human remains (including burial, cremation or donation). We are all volunteers.
In most of the US, a family may care for its own dead until burial or cremation without involving licensed funeral professionals. It requires a willingness to be something of a pioneer in today’s hands-off society, but those who have chosen to reclaim this historical tradition confirm that the process is enormously healing and meaningful. While a motivated family can acquire the legal knowledge and practical skills to arrange a home or family-directed funeral, the process is eased considerably when a group assists.
Caring for your own dead, in your home or a private and loving space, is a safe and legal right for all Americans, in every state. This simple, step by step, practical guide is essential reading to help plan and execute this timeless practice. Home funeral-specific, all-in-one planning guide and workbook ensures that your family will have all the information needed to follow through with your final wishes for a home funeral or vigil. Task lists give everyone something to do and direction on how to do it. Leave a meaningful legacy of trust by writing it all down - and then have the conversation with friends and loved ones.