Cremation is the process of reducing the body to ashes and bone fragments through the use of intense heat. The process usually takes from two to four hours. The cremated remains are then pulverized to break up larger bone fragments to a granular texture.

In New York State a 3-page authorization form must be completed before a cremation may occur. This requirement began in 2010. Use of the form ensures that crematories receive the necessary information when bodies are delivered for cremation and that the legal authority and decision of the person who requests a cremation are documented. A funeral director provides the form and collaborates with one or more persons who have authority for final disposition of a person’s remains to provide the required information. The completed form is given to the crematory and copies are retained by the funeral director and the responsible person(s).

The authorization form and instructions for its use can be viewed and downloaded from the New York State Department of State, Division of Cemeteries website.

Information required on the form

  • Identity of the deceased
  • Data from death certificate, also estimated weight of the deceased
  • One-line description of casket or container in which the body will be delivered
  • Certification that:
    - the person authorizing the cremation is legally empowered to do so. (see Authority for Disposition of Remains)
    - the body of the deceased does not contain batteries (for implanted devices) or radioactive materials.
    - the funeral director has been instructed to remove from the body any personal item or thing of value that the family wishes to preserve.
  • Affirmation that the crematory is not responsible for removal of personal or valuable items from the body before cremation.
  • Contact data for person authorized to receive the cremated remains (ashes).
  • One-line description of the intended final disposition of the ashes.
  • Authorization for the crematory to give the ashes to a designated funeral director if not to the person mentioned above, or to dispose of unclaimed ashes after 120 days.
  • Description of an urn or other container provided by the customer. If no such container is presented, the crematory will provide a rigid container for the ashes.
  • Signature(s) of legally empowered person(s) authorizing the cremation.
  • Signature of the funeral director as a witness.

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