Division of Cemeteries

Welcome to the New York Department of State's Division of Cemeteries. Under the supervision of the state's Cemetery Board, the division oversees the establishment, maintenance, and preservation of burial grounds for all not-for-profit cemeteries in New York State. As authorized by the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, the division works with cemetery officials on a wide range of issues including the sale of lots, service fees, and the acquisition of lands. There are some 1,800 cemeteries and crematories under its jurisdiction.


Safe Handling of Remains Memo: Download here.

Remote Completion and Witnessing of Authorization for Cremation and Disposition: Download here.

Cemetery and Crematory Services:

The Governor’s Executive Orders 202.6 and 202.8 provide that all businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state must use, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures.  Further, each employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 100% as of March 22, 2020, at 8 PM. However, this restriction does not apply to essential businesses or entities providing essential services or functions.  Pursuant to Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) guidance, essential services include “funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries.” 

Accordingly, funeral homes and cemeteries may continue to operate and hold services.  However, they should postpone services when possible.  If services must be held, funeral homes and cemeteries should limit the size of any services or gatherings to as few participants as possible (e.g. immediate family).  Further, funeral homes and cemeteries should discourage any potential out-of-town participants and maximize social distancing among in-person attendees (e.g. holding socially distanced services outside or limiting indoor capacity).

REMINDER - ANNUAL REPORT FILING: Cemetery operators must file reports by March 31, or 90 days after the fiscal year end. Cemeteries non-compliant with filing due dates are subject to Not-for-Profit Corporation law:

"Any cemetery corporation or individual failing to [timely] file [the annual report]
...shall forfeit to the people of the state the sum of one hundred dollars for each
day that each such report shall be delayed or withheld."

ECI Service Charge Application Guidelines – The current ECI rate is 2.8%.

One of the key elements in the Rapid Approval process is the Employment Cost Index (ECI) which is a measure of the change in the cost of labor.

The figures for the ECI are published quarterly by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov. These percentages are actually determined by calculating the ECI for the twelve months ending September 30; the ECI is released at the end of October. BLS's timing of this release allows cemeteries to print and mail their bills in January. The ECI becomes effective January 1 of the following year.

Click on our Forms link for instructions and application for "Certification of Application for an Increase of Service Charges Using the Employment Cost Index".

Upcoming Cemetery Board Meetings
Cemetery Board Meetings

Legal Memoranda
Cemetery Regulation in New York State
Responsibilities of Officers, Directors and Trustees of Cemetery Corporations
Board Determinations Regarding Grandfathered Combinations

Formal Opinions
Download Formal Opinion 2001-F1-Pre-Need Sales of Funeral and Burial Merchandise (PDF)

Relevant Laws, Administrative Rules and Regulations, and Rules of Procedure of the New York State Cemetery Board Governing Cemetery and Crematory Operations can be found in the Cemetery Law Manual.
The manual contains section 1501 of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, rules and directives promulgated by the New York State Cemetery Board, and other sections of various laws that pertain to cemeteries.