Grave Ownership and Exclusive Right of Burial

Exclusive Right of Burial

When a grave is purchased, it refers to the purchasing of the Exclusive Right of Burial in a grave space and not the purchase of the land itself. This means that you do not own the land but have the right, during the period stated, to say who can be buried, or have cremated remains buried, in the grave space.

A Right can be purchased in advance, many people do this to have the reassurance that there will be a grave space for them in their chosen cemetery. In this way, you can reserve the right to be buried in a cemetery, however note that graves are allocated on the basis of the next available at the date of interment. Specific grave plots are not reserved.

The cost of an Exclusive Right of Burial does not include any interment costs, these fees are listed separately.

We will provide you with a Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial and it is important that you keep this in a secure place as it is the only legal document confirming your entitlement to the Right. It is very important to notify us of any change of address so that we can contact you regarding the cemetery or grave space.

How long does the Right last?

The Right will be granted for a set period of years (currently 100 years). You can renew the Right subject to such restrictions and regulations as are in place at that time. Any application for renewal should be made within twelve months of the expiry date.

Can more than one person own the Right?

Legally a number of people can jointly own the Right. For example a husband and wife may wish to purchase a double grave with joint ownership, after the first burial, the ownership would revert to the surviving spouse. However, note that all owners are required to give permission before a grave can be opened. If one of the owners will not sign, the grave cannot be opened for a burial, or for a memorial to be erected or altered.

Can I transfer the Exclusive Right to someone else?

Yes. A living owner can change ownership by completing the form – Assignment of Rights of Burial

What happens when the owner dies?

Providing there is space, all owners have the legal right to be buried in the grave. When there are a number of owners and one dies, the rights are then shared by the remaining owner/s. This continues until there is only one owner, at which point the Right will be transferred via their estate.

Transferring the Exclusive Right of Burial

When the only owner of a grave dies, a transfer must take place before any further burial, erection of a memorial or amendment of a memorial may take place. There are several different ways in which a transfer may be carried out and these depend on how the estate of the deceased owner is handled.

If the deceased owner left a valid Will AND a Grant of Probate has been obtained:

If a grave owner has made a valid Will and left an estate of sufficient value to require a Grant of Probate, ownership of the grave will be transferred to the Executor/s. The Executor/s will need to provide us with a sealed copy Grant of Probate and, if possible, the original Deed of Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial.

If an Executor does not wish to retain the Right they can then transfer it to someone else of their choice, using a Form of Assent.

If the deceased owner left a valid Will but NO Grant of Probate has been obtained

If a grave owner has made a valid Will but the estate is not of sufficient value to require a Grant of Probate then ownership will be transferred to the Executor/s named in the Will by way of a Statutory Declaration. The Executor/s will need to complete the Statutory Declaration which they will need to take and sign in the presence of a Magistrate or Commissioner of Oaths. Many local solicitors are Commissioners of Oaths and will provide this service for a small fee. Once the declaration is signed the Executor/s will need to provide Ludgvan Parish Council with the signed Statutory Declaration, the Will and any codicils. The St

If the deceased owner did leave a Will BUT the Executor named in the will is not applying for a Grant of Probate

This could be because they do not want to act as Executor, or are no longer capable of doing so. Where this is the case, it is common for one of the main beneficiaries in the Will to apply for Grant of Letters Administration instead.

If an Administrator does not with to retain the Right they can then transfer it to someone else of their choice using a Form of Assent.

If the deceased owner did NOT leave a Will  BUT a Grant of Letters of Administration was obtained

If a grave owner did not leave a valid Will and left an estate of insufficient value to require a Grant of Letters of Administration, the ownership will be transferred to the lawful next of kin by way of a Statutory Declaration. Please note that in some cases it may be necessary for next of kin to complete a Form of Renunciation. This document will need to be signed in the presence of a Magistrate or Commissioner of Oaths. Many local solicitors are Commissioners of Oaths and will provide this service for a small fee.

Please note, you should seek your own independent legal advice regarding your circumstances and completing of the forms.  You are responsible for ensuring that the correct form has been completed and all details contained in it are correct.