What are burial rights?
When you purchase a grave, a Deed of Grant is issued given you the Exclusive Right of Burial in that particular space, not ownership of the land itself. This means that you own the right to say who can be buried in the grave space.
All grave rights are for a fixed period and cannot be sold for more than 99 years at any one time. However, we will offer you the option to extend the lease so that it is always in the control of you or someone you transfer the ownership to.
If a grave is jointly owned and one of the owners dies, ownership will remain with the other named owner.
What does ownership of the grave mean?
As a registered owner of a grave or cremation plot, you have the right to:
- Be buried in the grave/plot if space is available and the right of burial has not expired (this includes cremated remains)
- Authorise a burial/further burials or the scattering of cremated remains in the grave where space is available
- Apply for a permit to erect a memorial on the grave or add further inscriptions to an existing memorial
- Pass the grave on to someone else, or give it up completely if unused.
The Council determines how many burials (including cremated remains) are permitted in the grave space, not the grave owner.
You are responsible for telling us when your address or telephone number changes. By doing this we can continue to keep you up to date on any issues or changes to your family grave.
You are also responsible for ensuring the memorial is in a safe condition and pay for any repairs required – see headstones.
What happens when the lease expires?
At the end of the lease period you should be given the option of renewing the burial rights for a further period.
If the lease is not renewed the headstone will be removed and can be collected by the owner or destroyed by us (at your request). Existing burials in the grave/plot are not removed or disturbed, but the remaining space in the grave may be resold.
Please let us know if you change your address otherwise you may not receive a notice of renewal at the appropriate time. Cemetery staff can lawfully remove any memorial after giving you a set period of notice to remove it yourself.
What happens when the grave owner dies?
If the original grave owner has died and left a Will, transfer of ownership can take place through the owner’s estate, according to their wishes. If no Will was left, the next of kin/executors have the right to make a claim of ownership - transfer of ownership can be complex and each case is looked at individually.
Alternatively, a transfer of the rights to a grave can be done whilst the owner is still alive.
How do I transfer ownership of a grave?
Transferring the the rights to a grave from the registered owner to another person is known as assignment of rights of burial.
To do this you will need to register this transfer of ownership with the bereavement services team.
We will then assist you with the process and provide you with all the information required. A fee applies and will vary depending on circumstances - see fees and charges for further details.
It is essential that you keep your Deed safe as it forms part of your estate and must be produced in the event of any future burials. If you misplace your deeds, you should inform the bereavement services team to discuss it. However, please be aware that it is not Council policy to produce replacement deeds.