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Funerals/Request for cremation in the will


I live in New York City and I have a partner (not married). In my will he is named executor and beneficiary along with my son. I heard that next of kin have burial/cremation rights over any requests made in the will for cremation. Is this true? If my son decides he wants a burial instead of cremation, will this supersede any willed request for cremation? Will my partner be viewed as next of kin?

Your will is not the place to put your wishes as it's often not read until after the funeral. But you may name an agent for body disposition who will have rights of priority over next-of-kin.
The form is in 4201 of the Public Health laws--$$PBH42


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Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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