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A virtual meeting jointly hosted by the Funeral Consumers Alliances of Eastern and Western Massachusetts


What happens in MA to the bodies of those who were indigent or without ties to family or friends? Are we caring for ALL our dead?

The Funeral Consumers Alliances of Eastern and Western Massachusetts (FCAEM & FCAWM) invite you to a meeting on Zoom to learn about the problems of unclaimed and indigent bodies and to help scope possible solutions.

Who has authority, in the absence of next of kin, to make decisions about final disposition? Who has responsibility for the body? Who pays for storage, transportation, permits, cremation fees and/or cemetery plots?

Passage of a well-intentioned but incomplete state law two years ago allowed local boards of health to authorize cremation after thirty days, but didn’t solve who is responsible. Funeral homes are often unwilling to take the bodies, because of red tape and unpaid expenses. In January the Western Massachusetts Public Health Association wrote to 160 state legislators asking for help; a lively meeting in March with a few legislators, police, health directors, funeral directors and FCAWM members stirred up more questions than answers. COVID-19 interrupted that process, while simultaneously making the problem much worse.

We must persevere. Do we need new legislation? Can we brainstorm other solutions?

Join us on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 6:30 pm and help us restore a modicum of dignity to those who were indigent.

To prepare, we recommend watching this 13 minute video presented by Caitlin Doughty (The Order of the Good Death) of her interview with Peter Stefan, a mortician in Worcester MA.