A Guide to Cremation Costs in New York State 2023

If you are researching cremation costs in New York, or need to find the best cremation price due to managing a funeral budget, read on to learn more about funeral costs.  How a direct cremation service can save you thousands of dollars in funeral expenses and give you more control over arranging a simple, inexpensive disposition.  We include below a breakdown of affordable direct cremation prices by city in New York.

But first, let’s review what average funeral and cremation costs are and what you should know about associated costs and laws when opting for a cremation service.

Click here to jump to Affordable direct cremation prices by city in New York.

What is the average cost of a funeral in New York State today?

People continue to use the internet to compare services and products before buying. Why, then, should this be any different for funerals or cremations? Traditional full-service funerals are often one of the larger expenses people are faced with. Add to this the fact that this expense is often unforeseen, and it is easy to see how many Americans simply cannot afford a full funeral service.

According to Funeralocity (2023), a traditional full-service funeral costs an average of $8,347 in New York, and this does not include cemetery fees. With cemetery fees, you’re looking at around $9,000 to $10,000 for a ‘standard’ funeral service.

For the reasons mentioned above, not many families can afford this kind of expense, especially if it is one they are not prepared for. This is a key reason for direct cremations growing popularity in the U.S. in recent years, as more people seek affordable end-of-life alternatives to a traditional funeral service.

When you consider that a direct cremation can be arranged for under $1,400 in most cities in New York and as little as $495 in some areas, then it is no surprise that more and more people are turning to cremation in the state of New York.

Cremation Funeral

What is the average cost of cremation in New York State today?

So, a direct cremation can be arranged for under $1,400 in most cities in New York state, but what is the average cost of a cremation in New York? This all depends on the type of cremation service you opt for, as cremation with a memorial service will still cost upwards of $2,500. However, you could pay more for a more elaborate service or less for direct cremation.

If you opt for cremation, this also means you can eliminate some of the more costly items such as a casket, embalming, a grave liner, and a cemetery plot – this can save you a lot on the full cost of a funeral with burial.

What is the least expensive cremation service?

Direct cremation is your least expensive cremation option. This is when cremation is simply carried out without a service or ceremony. It is a simple, dignified cremation of the deceased with minimal ‘fuss’ and at a minimal cost.

The cremated remains are returned to the next of kin after everything has been taken care of.  A family can hold a memorial service if they wish when they are ready, and this can even be conducted at home for much less. 

Direct cremation takes care of the immediate need to handle the disposition of the deceased. Still, it can also enable the family to defer the need for a memorial service or enable them to craft their own bespoke personalized ‘send off.’

Direct cremation cost comparison for 8 of the top cities in New York state

To help give you a better understanding of how cremation costs can vary considerably, we have put together the following table of cremation costs for some of the major cities in New York. It provides a breakdown of the average direct cremation cost, as well as a low-cost direct cremation. As you can see, a direct cremation can be arranged for under $1,400 in most areas.

CityAverage direct cremation cost*Low-cost direct cremationImmediate help
New York city$2,311$495(212) 381-6243
Nassau County$2,391$895(516) 406-8141
Albany$2,171$895(518) 205-3636
Buffalo$2,130$1,395(716) 202-8600
Rochester$2,151$1,395(585) 207-0874
Syracuse$2,203$1,395(315) 203-3737
Suffolk County$2,391$895(631) 503-1617
Westchester County$2,391$495(914) 984-3377

Are there any extra fees added to a low-cost cremation service package?

The service charge for a direct cremation is listed on the funeral provider’s General Price List. This should include the basic services of the funeral director, collection and transfer of the deceased, completing the legal paperwork, and conducting the cremation.  It usually includes a simple cardboard cremation container and a temporary urn.

The funeral director will pay third-party fees to the local county to obtain the death certificate and pay for any permit charges.  These are third-party fees that are added to the direct cremation service fee.

The fee for a death certificate is $15 in New York City and $10 or less in the rest of New York State. You may require more than one death certificate, as you will need to send them off to more than one institution, organization, or government office at the same time.

Most authority bodies that need evidence of the death, i.e., a life insurance company, will require an original copy of a death certificate. Certified copies of a death certificate are usually available within ten days after the death. 

There can be an additional charge if any of the below services are required:

  • Residential collection
  • Removal of a pace-maker
  • Overweight surcharge (above 250 pounds)
  • Family arrangement consultation
  • Mailing of cremated remains
Direct cremation

What New York funeral legislation governs cremation arrangements?

In New York State, only a registered, licensed funeral director can carry out funeral arrangements for the death care of a deceased person. The funeral director will file the death certificate and make the necessary arrangements, in accordance with family wishes, for the disposition of the deceased.

New York is one of only 10 states that legally require you to employ the basic services of a funeral director.

Only a licensed funeral director can transport the deceased from the place of death into a funeral home or crematory care. This means that you are legally bound to employ a funeral director, even if you manage all other aspects of funeral arrangements. The funeral director will obtain the death certificate and burial or cremation permit and transport the deceased for interment.

As can be seen, New York has some quite strict laws.  A crematory must abide by certain practice standards in disposing of human remains by cremation. 

 In New York, a cremation can only be performed once a ‘Cremation Authorization Form has been signed by the legal next of kin and the medical examiner has issued the cremation permit. 

Generally, a mandatory waiting period is 24 hours before a cremation can proceed, but this is not enforced in New York. That being said, it usually takes about three days to make all the necessary arrangements and complete the paperwork, but an expedited service can be arranged if required.

A casket is NOT required by law for a cremation. All that is required is a suitable rigid container. A cremation container is usually a reinforced cardboard or plywood box. Some funeral homes offer rental caskets if you wish to hold a funeral service before the cremation.

What about a “no-cost” cremation in New York?

What is sometimes called a “free” cremation or “no-cost” cremation is a whole-body donation.  Once the donation is performed, the remains are cremated free of charge.  However, in some cases, there are costs associated with transporting the deceased and obtaining death certificates.

Donating your body to medical science has been an end-of-life choice for some time now. However, it has certainly gained more popularity in recent times. For many, it now seems a valuable disposition method, so it is commonly referred to as an “anatomical gift.” Several national organizations offer an anatomical gift program whereby you can donate your body to science and the benefit of future generations.

They arrange the collection of the deceased, medical donation, cremation of remains, and return of cremains to the family, usually at no charge. There are also a number of Universities and Medical Schools in New York that operate whole-body donation programs. Do understand that an anatomical donation cannot always be accepted at the time of death. It can be affected by the needs of medical and research institutions at the time and transportation services.

Visit our Body Donation page to read further about this option. 

The deceased had no life insurance, and I can’t afford a funeral. What help is there with cremation costs in New York?

New York City provides low-income New York City residents a Burial Financial Assistance program.  If qualifying, a resident can claim up to $900 in financial assistance to help pay for a funeral. The funeral expenses in total must not exceed $1,700. 

An application must be made to the Human Resources Administration within 60 days of the death of the individual for whom financial assistance is required to pay for the funeral expenses. 

The application form for financial assistance for funeral costs in NYC can be found here.

A $255 lump-sum death benefit payment is also available from Social Security for those who qualify. Your funeral director will generally submit this claim on your behalf. 

Cremation Plan

What happens if I cannot pay for a funeral?

The responsibility to pay the funeral bill falls to the immediate next of kin if the deceased had no pre-paid funeral plan or life insurance.  This can be very stressful if you lose a family member and become responsible for the funeral arrangements without any resources. 

This resource on What to do if you cannot afford a funeral might help.

How much does a cremation cost if the deceased is at the Medical Examiner’s morgue?

If the deceased is at the coroner’s office, you will need to make arrangements with a funeral service provider to collect the body when the coroner signs the release form.  You will need to give authorization to the funeral director to collect your loved one and transfer him or her into their care.

As most funeral directors deal with the coroner’s office on a regular basis, and the ME issues the authorization and permit to cremate, it can make the arrangements easier.  For this reason, some funeral homes can offer a budget direct cremation when handling remains from the Medical Examiner.

* Average direct cremation prices data gathered from Funeralocity 2023.  Low-cost direct cremation prices are obtained from DFS Memorials providers in New York.

Written by

Sara is the Editor in Chief for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death care industry in the US for the last 15 years.