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Home Funeral Paperwork Process

There are two documents the family needs to generate to complete the necessary paperwork themselves, and to be able to transport the body:

Several steps are involved in generating the Death Certificate, and the process will vary depending on if the body is in the hospital or at home. Here is an overview of the key players in the process for families to generate the Death Certificate and Burial Transit Permit:

Doctor:

Begins the paperwork process by filling out the “Death Certificate Medical Certifier Worksheet” (which basically states the time and cause of death).

Family:

Receives the Death Certificate Medical Certifier Worksheet from the doctor. Takes it, the “Informant Worksheet for Certificate of Death” (basically all the bio­graph­ical information about the deceased), and the Funeral Provider Worksheet (tells the town clerk the name of the cemetery or crematory) to the Town Clerk in the town where the death occurred.

Town Clerk:

Receives the documents from the family. Inputs all the information into the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS). Calls the family when she/he has the final death certificate and burial transit permit.

This chart is a general summary of the process.

paperwork-process

The family can then transport the body in a rigid container to a cemetery or crema­tory where further paperwork will be required depending on the facility. Here are the details of the specific documents needed.

What the City or Town Clerk needs:

1.Medical Certifier Worksheet for Certificate of Death

This is a one-page form from the Massachusetts website. It is filled out by the doctor/medical professional who either pronounced the death or is qualified to fill out the form. This completed form is sent to City or Town Clerk by the hos­pital. If death occurred in a hospital setting, they send it in. If death occurred at home, the person reporting the death brings it in (you may need to bring it in yourself). Note: the process for the physician to fill out form is also available here.

2. Informant Worksheet for Certificate of Death

This is a five-page form from the Massachusetts website. It is filled out by next-of-kin and/or the person acting as their own funeral director for the family of the deceased. This form creates a biography of the deceased person and is given to the City or Town Clerk along with the form (1.) above.

3.Funeral Provider Worksheet for Certificate of Death — $20.00 fee

This is a one-page form from the Massachusetts website. It is filled out by the person authorized by the family to act as funeral director. It does not have to be a family member. This completed form is given to the City or Town Clerk and the Disposition, Removal or Transportation Permit will be created from the information given on this form. This permit is given to the crematory of cemetery when delivering the body. More commonly called a “burial transit permit” — this form states in part: “Information necessary for the Certificate of Death has been completed for: ___”, and further states, “This permit authorizes the following Funeral Service Licensee OR Designee (family) to remove, dispose or transport remains as listed below.” (The date of disposition may be approximate.)

4.Veteran Information Worksheet — complete if applicable

This is a one-page form from the Massachusetts website. There is a confirmation of information between the Medical Certifier and the Clerk to verify accuracy of the information (called an Attestation). There is also a confirmation between the family who filled out the (5-page) worksheet and the Clerk to verify accuracy of the information.

The Burial Transit Permit will/should be issued almost immediately.

There are many scenarios possible, each a little different. For further essential details of the step-by-step process in common scenarios, please refer to the one closest to your situation:

Background on the State Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS)

In the last few years MA has instituted the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS), as have most other states. When it comes to accessing the electronic system most institutions, physicians, and town officials only have experience working with funeral directors. When a family acts as its own funeral director, each office may need time to learn their part of the process and it may be slightly different in different places. Patience and persistence are required.

There are two parallel tracks to accommodate the physicians and various institutions:

One: Online for those with direct electronic access to the EDR system (usually hospitals)

Two: Offline for those who have not signed on and do not have direct access (physicians, nursing homes, assisted living)

You will usually be working with physicians who do not have direct access (offline) and the family will need to hand-carry the documents from the physician to the City or Town Clerk in the town where the death occurred.

Track One: online (usually hospitals)

This track is for institutions that must certify the cause of death and are part of the EDRS and can input the proper information electronically.

The Town Clerk in the town where the death occurred can then directly access the information.

Track two: offline (usually physicians, nursing homes, assisted living, and families)

This track is for those who do not have direct access to the EDRS. This requires a paper process to be generated.


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