About one-third of the cemeteries in New York State are operated by not-for-profit corporations. The others are owned by religious and private organizations, families, local governments, and the federal government.
Cemeteries operated by not-for-profit corporations in New York State are regulated by the New York State Cemetery Board through the New York State Division of Cemeteries. Laws and regulations administered by the Division specify rights enjoyed by members of cemetery associations; rights of customers to receive full information about rules, regulations and prices of a cemetery; and duties of the association toward its members, its lands, and funds held for cemetery maintenance, among much else.
Cemeteries not under the jurisdiction of the NYS Cemetery Board are subject to public health laws and regulations and to local laws and regulations.
Opportunities for natural, or green, burial are limited. Greensprings Natural Cemetery in Newfield, NY, is the only cemetery in the Finger Lakes region that is dedicated exclusively to natural burials. Other cemeteries with sufficient land have the option of setting aside areas for natural burials. To find out if a particular cemetery permits natural burials, contact the cemetery.
If you have a complaint about a cemetery or conditions at a cemetery lot or grave, see Things to know before filing a complaint about a cemetery at the NYS Division of Cemeteries website. If the cemetery is among those regulated by the Division of Cemeteries, and the cemetery management does not respond adequately to your concerns, then you can file a Cemetery Complaint Form with the Division of Cemeteries.