Law Office of Richard M. Russell
197 Palmer Avenue
Falmouth, Massachusetts 02540

This site does not provide legal advice. Please visit the Law Office of Richard M. Russell for information specific to your circumstances.

Directive as to Remains

Massachusetts law permits individuals to leave instructions as to their final wishes--that is--their preference as to funeral services and disposition of their remains. The only requirement is that the instructions be in writing and signed before a witness (239 C.M.R. § 3.09(b)). The writing may designate who has authority to take possession of the remains. In the absence of such a writing (or, if the person designated cannot or will not act according to the instructions), authority over the remains belongs to (in order and if applicable):

the entity with which the decedent signed a pre-need funeral services contract
the surviving spouse
adult children
a legally appointed guardian
any other person authorized or obligated by law.

If you are planning your estate and you are comfortable addressing these matters, it makes sense to include a Disposition as to Remains as part of your estate plan.