Control Disposition of Remains

New York State has established a priority for the control of the disposition of human remains. They are as follows:

  1. The person designated in a written instrument

  2. The decedent's surviving spouse

  3. The decedent's surviving domestic partner

  4. Any of the decedent's surviving children 18 years of age or older

  5. Either of the decedent's surviving parents

  6. Any of the decedent's surviving siblings 18 years of age or older

  7. A guardian appointed pursuant to the surrogate's court procedure act or the mental hygiene law

  8. Any person 18 years of age or older who would be entitled to share in the estate of the decedent with the closest relationship having priority in the follow order:
  • Grandchildren
  • Great-grandchildren
  • Nieces and Nephews
  • Grand-nieces and Grand-nephews
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts and Uncles
  • First Cousins
  • Great-Grandchildren of Grandparents
  • Second Cousin
  • a duly appointed fiduciary of the estate of the decedent
  • a close friend or relative who is reasonably familiar with the decedent's wishes, including hes or her religious or moral beliefs, when no one higher on the list is available, willing, or competent to act (NOTE: This person must complete an "At-Need Written Statement of Person Having the Right to Control Disposition" form)
  • a chief fiscal officer of a county or a public administrator appointed pursuant to the surrogate's court procedure act, or anyone willing to act on behalf of the decedent who completes the "At-Need Written Statement" form.
  • Search online for the form "Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains." This form cannot be filled out by the funeral home.