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.

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PROCEDURES

New Regulation Affecting Cremation Authorization

On May 1, 2020, effective immediately, the Cemetery Board adopted a new regulation, 19 NYCRR 203.14,  by emergency adoption. This regulation authorizes crematories, during an emergency declared by the governor or the cemetery board, to accept human remains delivered with a cremation authorization form in which the intended crematory has been manually corrected.

The correction must be done by a funeral director or a person authorized to deliver remains on behalf of a funeral director. The person making the correction must obtain the consent of the person in control of disposition. The new regulation also makes clear that, as always, the crematory must be able to verify that cremation is intended.

Modified Cremation Authorization

Effective April 30, 2020, the Division of Cemeteries has modified its Authorization for Cremation and Disposition to include the following optional language, to be initialed by the person authorizing the cremation upon completion of the form:

“I/we hereby authorize the named funeral director to provide for delivery to and cremation by an alternate crematory, if deemed necessary in the opinion of the funeral director, and to amend this form to provide the correct name and address of such alternate crematory.”

This form is in effect immediately. If that box is initialed, a New York crematory may accept the remains for cremation even if the name of another crematory initially appeared on the Cremation Authorization. This change applies only to cremations authorized by the modified form. Instructions for completing this form are available here.

Safe Handling of Remains Memo: Download here.

Remote Completion and Witnessing of Authorization for Cremation and Disposition: Download here.Personal Protective Equipment: Please contact your county’s office of emergency management to obtain personal protective equipment. 

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.