More Information & Links

Note: click here if you need to download free Adobe Reader to open pdf files.

Other Funeral Consumers Alliance sites

We are an affiliate of the national Funeral Consumers Alliance, Inc. 
The national FCA website  provides access to a vast amount of information, directly or via extensive links, to virtually anything related to death care and end of life issues! You can join the FCA discussion group where the very latest issues and developments are reported and discussed by FCA members including affiliate and national leaders. You can locate FCA affiliates in other regions, e.g., 

Regulatory Information

FTC (Federal Trade Commission): Consumer Rights under the Funeral Rule
FTC Consumer Protection:  Shopping for Funerals  (also available in Spanish)
FTC FACTS for Consumers: Paying Final Respects: Your Rights When Buying Funeral Goods & Services  (pdf of 9-page booklet)

Social Security:  Survivor Benefits

Veterans' Death Benefits for survivors

Your Funeral Consumer Rights (Funeral Ethics Organization) - concise summaries of the rights in each state. Note: these have not been updated recently. In 2019 we are revising the one for Massachusetts (text on FCAWM website).

How to File a Complaint

FTC (Federal Trade Commission):  call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

MA Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation: 
      Consumer Hotline: (617) 973-8787 or (888) 283-3757 toll free (MA only)       

      Division of Professional Licensure:
           DPL Office of Investigations, Consumer Line (617) 727-7406

FCA article: Funeral home complaints: reasonable or unreasonable?

What to Do When Someone Dies (links)

​AARP checklist:  What to do when a loved one dies 

From LegalVoice, Seattle, WA:  After Death Occurs--A Checklist 
     (also in Spanish, and in Russian)  

Peaceful Passages at Home: What Happens to a Body After Death?

Social Security: How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies (pdf) and Cómo el Seguro Social le puede ayudar cuando fallece un miembro de su familia

UncleFed's Tax Board:   Checklist: What To Do When Someone Dies

Gail Rubin’s article on American Academy of Estate Planning website: After The Funeral: An Executor’s Checklist (2016)

Donation of organs, tissues or whole body
Understanding Donation (Donate Life)

New England Organ Bank 

Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, click on "How to Donate a Brain"

Whole body donation to medical schools in Massachusetts:

See also "Giving Life When Life Ends" in our Fall 2011 Newsletter (pdf; scroll to page 4.)

Family-Managed Death Care

National Home Funeral Alliance (NHFA)

Peaceful Passages at Home: Caring for Your Own After Death
(a handy website, redesigned and expanded in September 2018).

VIDEO:  Home Funeral Discussed, Part 1  By Merilynne Rush (10 min);  Home Funeral Discussed, Part 2  (8 min, mostly on green burial)

Green Burial

Green Burial in Massachusetts  (GBM website with lists of resources)

Green Burial in Massachusetts: Questions and Answers (brochure)

Hospice, End-of-Life Care, Medical Directives

End-of-life wishes:  
    POLST (Physician’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) and

    MOLST (Massachusetts Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment)

    Five Wishes (from Aging with Dignity; available in many languages)

Northampton Community Forum "A Matter of Life and Death" with 5 panelists discussing end-of-live issues in front of standing-room-only crowd, Feb. 25, 2014  (NCTV video. 1hr, 40min)

Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts includes Hospice locator

Talking about it - Starting the Conversation 
The Conversation Project (Ellen Goodman)
Death Cafés - a global movement
Death over Dinner, a call to action, with tools to help people start. 
Huffington Post Dec 2013 article about Death over Dinner, Conversation Project.

My Gift of Grace, a conversation game for living and dying well (Action Mill)
The Go Wish Game created by The Coda Alliance
The Newly-Dead Game by Gail Rubin

Wake Up to Dying project, an "awareness and action campaign that encourages people to think and to talk about dying."


VIDEO: Ask a Mortician (Caitlin Doughty), Episode 6, Decomposition

Books to read

Too many to list here, but look at these reading guides:

Best Books on Preparing for Death (selected and reviewed by existential philosopher and medical ethicist James Park)
Death Cafe Resource Library
Exploring Death in America (bibliography by NPR All Things Considered)

Recommended books re Grief (Allina Health) including:
     Books for adults grieving the death of a parent
     Grief and Death for Children ages 8-12
Books about funerals, cemeteries and Shiva for children

Children's Books About Death and Dying (What’sYour Grief)
Children’s Books about Death (Goodreads)

Resources for Families and Friends (National Home Funeral Alliance)


Planning a Funeral (pdf) excellent general article, including a checklist of "Tasks" and a page about cemeteries (Boston Consumers' Checkbook, 2005)

Ten Facts Funeral Directors Don’t Want You to Know (

End With Care - a resource for end-of-life services that are available within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including an after-death checklist.