ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT (Chapters 1 through 182)
CEMETERIES AND BURIALS
Burial permits; permits for removal of bodies; certificates of death; deceased veterans
Section 45. Except as provided in sections forty-four and forty-six, no undertaker or other person shall bury or otherwise dispose of a human body in a town, or remove therefrom a human body which has not been buried, until he has received a permit from the board of health or its agent appointed to issue such permits, or if there is no such board, from the clerk of the town where the person died; and no undertaker or other person shall exhume a human body and remove it from a town, from one cemetery to another, or from one grave or tomb other than the receiving tomb to another in the same cemetery, until he has received a permit from the board of health or its agent aforesaid or from the clerk of the town where the body is buried. No such permit shall be issued until there shall have been delivered to such board, agent or clerk, as the case may be, a satisfactory written statement containing the facts required by law to be returned and recorded, which shall be accompanied, in case of an original interment, by a satisfactory certificate of the attending physician, if any, as required by law, or in lieu thereof a certificate as hereinafter provided. If there is no attending physician, or if, for sufficient reasons, his certificate cannot be obtained early enough for the purpose, or is insufficient, a physician who is a member of the board of health, or employed by it or by the selectmen for the purpose, shall upon application make the certificate required of the attending physician. If death is caused by violence, the medical examiner shall make such certificate. If such permit for removal of a human body, not previously interred, from one town to another within the commonwealth cannot be obtained early enough for the purpose, the certificate of death made as above provided or the determination or pronouncement of death made by a licensed registered nurse, a nurse practitioner or a registered physician assistant according to section nine of chapter forty-six and in the possession of the undertaker desiring to make such removal shall constitute a permit for such removal; provided, that such body shall be returned to the town from which it was removed within thirty-six hours after such removal, unless a permit in the usual form for the removal of such body has been sooner obtained hereunder. If the death certificate contains a recital, as required by section ten of chapter forty-six, that the deceased was a veteran, such recital shall appear upon the permit. The board of health or its agent, upon receipt of such statement and certificate, shall forthwith countersign it and transmit it to the clerk of the town for registration. The person to whom the permit is so given and the physician certifying the cause of death shall thereafter furnish for registration any other necessary information which can be obtained as to the deceased, or as to the manner or cause of the death, which the clerk or registrar may require.