Legal FAQs

Do I have to use a vault?

There is no NY State law that requires the use of a burial vault.  However, most cemeteries require the casket to be placed in a protective outer container suitable to keep the ground above it from sinking on it.

Years ago graves were dug by hand.  Today, heavy earth moving equipment is used.  That equipment may travel on top of many graves to reach the specific location.  Vaults and concrete grave liners provide adequate strength to keep the earth from sinking.

Earth burial is often selected by those who choose the cremation process. As is the case with a casket, the urn or urn vault containing the cremains is buried on the family gravesite.

Is embalming required by law?

In New York State embalming, in nearly all situations, is not required by law.  As is the case in most states, however, embalming is required when a reportable contagious disease caused the death or when the remains are to transported from one state to another by common carrier.

Embalming sanitizes and provides temporary preservation of the body, decelerates the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness.

Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most meaningful to them.

What if a Funeral Home Closes?

A frequent question that consumers ask is "What happens if the funeral home closes?"

Fortunately, New York State Law requires that preneed funds are forwarded to an interest-bearing account with a separate financial institution in the purchaser's name. The purchaser remains in control of those funds at all times.

In the event of a funeral home closing, all accountholders must be notified in writing within 30 days. They may then choose to transfer the funds in their preneed account to another funeral home or, if it is a revocable agreement, they may request a refund of their deposits plus all interest earned.

The New York State Health Department Bureau of Funeral Directing regulates funeral service and closely monitors this process.

Will my money be safe?

Our family funeral home is a member of PrePlan, an FDIC insured Trust fund that belongs to you (the consumer) NOT the funeral home. Unless the beneficiary of this trust account is on Medicaid/SSI, the funds are 100% refundable WITH the interest accrued over time. Our funeral home CANNOT access this money for any reason, until a certified death certificate is presented to PrePlan in accordance with their rules and regulations.