What is the Burial Rights Law in New York?

Posted almost 6 years ago. Applies to New York, 2 helpful votes




Although you can state your wishes in your Will, the Will may not be read or opened until after the funeral services. The form for the appointment of an agent to make these decisions on your behalf should be kept in a safe place in your home with your other important decision-making papers, such as your durable power of attorney, health care proxy and living will. The law gives you the ability to specify your wishes and give instructions to the agent.


Pre-Need Agreement

You are also able to indicate whether you have completed a Pre-Need Agreement with your funeral home.


If You Fail to Designate an Agent

If you do not designate an agent, the law names a hierarchy of people who have the right to control the disposition of your remains: (a) surviving spouse, (b) surviving domestic partner, (c) any of the surviving children over 18 years old, (d) either of the surviving parents, (e) any of the surviving siblings over 18 years old, (f) a guardian appointed by the court or (g) the fiduciary of the estate.



A simple hand written note is not sufficient. There are certain formalities that must be followed to comply with the law. Contact an attorney for the preparation of an "Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains".

Additional Resources

Buffalo, NY Estate Attorneys

Rate this guide

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

25,287 answers this week

2,897 attorneys answering