Rochester Funeral Homes


Resource Guide


Funeral Planning Check List, Vital Statistics Form,
Floral Selection Guide, Vaults and Mausoleums,
Funeral Etiquette, Memorial Cards, Legal Issues

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Laws Concerning Disposition of the Body:

New York State Requirements:
You must employ the services of a funeral director, as only licensed and registered funeral homes can legally make arrangements for the moving and preparation of a body for cremation or burial. The minimum obligations of a funeral director include:

  • Filing the death certificate
  • Transferring the body from the place of death to the funeral home
  • Coordinating arrangements with the cemetery and or crematorium
  • Making the necessary preparations involved with these activities
  • Moving the body to the crematorium or cemetery

The law requires funeral homes to provide prices over the phone, if asked. You must be informed in advance of all charges involved with your selections and substitutions may not be made without your permission. There is no extra charge or fee for filing the death certificate or getting it medically certified. Unless disclosed at the time of the funeral arrangements, you may not be charged interest on an outstanding balance.

Be aware that respectable funeral home directors will never pressure you to choose more expensive merchandise than you ask for. It is actually illegal for the funeral director or the funeral home staff to imply or state explicitly that any merchandise you choose is inferior or unsatisfactory in any way as a means of subtly pressuring you to make a different purchase. If you believe you are being pressured and wish to change funeral homes, you may do so at any time. You will be legally obligated to pay for any services that you have agreed to that are already done, but the body may be moved to another funeral home regardless of the balance on your bill.

Embalming is required only for bodies which will be viewed or kept for visitation. The funeral director may not refuse to embalm the body. Neither can they charge an extra fee for preparing the body of a person who died from an infectious disease. You must be allowed to view the body if you wish to do so. The body needs to be containerized, but you do not need to purchase a casket from a funeral home. While state law does not require a vault, many cemeteries do, to prevent graves from sinking.

If your religion prohibits embalming, the body must be cremated or buried within 24 hours.

New York State law allows for:

  1. An unfinished wooden container.
  2. A container made of cardboard, pressed wood and canvas or other material. You may build or have someone build you a receptacle or purchase one from a supplier other than a funeral home. The funeral home may not charge you an extra fee to handle a casket or container you provide.
  3. Military funerals must be provided for deceased veterans if the family requests it. The funeral director or your county veterans' agency can provide you with the information and details you need to know about these special funerals

Click on these links for more information:
NYS Department of Health Funeral Info
NYS Funeral Directors Assn. General Information
AARP End of Life Issues

Out of State/Country Deaths
When a death occurs outside of the state or country in which the deceased resides, your funeral director will work with an associate funeral home at the place of death. He will instruct the associate funeral home to prepare the body for transfer, file all required permits and authorizations and arrange for transportation of the body.

Laws Concerning Disposition of the Estate
The earthly possessions of the deceased are known as the estate. Any assets (or possessions) that are left must be used to pay debts the deceased may have left behind, then Federal or state death taxes. If any assets remain they must be lawfully distributed to those named in a will (if one exists), or according to state law if a will does not exist.

We are not qualified to advise you on the legal issues regarding estate planning or distribution. Therefore, we suggest you visit the link below and research lawyers or estate planners to your own satisfaction.

NOLO Wills & Estate Planning

[links to local attorneys and/or CPAs]




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