Exclusive Right of Burial
What are Exclusive Rights of Burial?
When you buy a grave, you're buying the right to bury a body or scatter ashes (cremated remains) in that grave or cremated remains plot, not the land itself. This is called the Exclusive Rights of Burial.
You can choose whether to purchase the Exclusive Right of Burial for a grave or cremated remains plot. As the owner, these rights mean that you have to give permission for remains or ashes to be buried in it. You also have the right to add a memorial to the grave, depending on the cemetery or crematorium's rules and regulations.
When you're given the rights to a grave, you're given a deed (a legal document) that shows you own it. This is called the Grant of Exclusive Rights of Burial and should be kept in a safe place until the time when the grave is used.
Up to two people can be named on a deed as grant holders for the Exclusive Right of Burial with the initial period granted for 50 years.
The Exclusive Right of Burial shall be exercisable only for a period of 50 years from the date of grant. At the end of this period all rights relating to that grave and in relation to any memorial erected, revert to bereavement services.
While there is no obligation on the part of the grant holder to erect a memorial on the grave or cremated remains plot, any memorial must be obtained and fitted by a monumental mason registered with Herefordshire Council. Being a member of our monumental mason scheme ensures that the mason's fixing methods meet the required standard and that they are offering a minimum 10 year guarantee on their workmanship.
All memorials must comply with the regulations for cemetery memorials.
Following the death of the grant holder, the Exclusive Right of Burial in any grave space, must be transferred and re-registered before the grave can be further re-opened (other than for that of the grantee) or any stone or monument erected other than to either:
- Add an additional inscription in memory to the deceased grantee to an existing memorial
- Have a memorial erected in memory of the deceased grantee if one doesn't already exist
- Only name, date of death and age will be allowed as an inscription unless there is a transfer of the Exclusive Right of Burial
Assignment and transfer of the Exclusive Right of Burial
Exclusive rights of burial cannot simply be 'handed over', for example to the eldest child.
Where the living grant holder of the grave wishes to transfer their right of a grave, they can complete a form of assignment and submit it to the crematorium office with the original deed. We will update and record the transfer on the grant in the registry.
Following the death of the grant holder, the next of kin can contact the crematorium office and discuss the next steps to have the right transferred. If satisfactory, once we receive payment for the registration transfer, we will update and record the transfer in the registry.
To assign the transfer of deed or grant, you will need to provide any of the following relevant original documentation to the crematorium office:
- Grant of probate - normally granted to the executor(s) appointed in the will of the deceased person once the will has been proven in court. Only the original sealed grant will be acceptable. It must bear the embossed seal of the court
- Grant of letters of administration - when a person dies intestate (without making a valid will) then the next of kin (or some other person with a sufficient interest) can apply to the court to be made administrator of the estate. As with grant of probate, the original document must be produced bearing the embossed seal of the court
- Form of assent - normally completed by the deceased's personal representative or other holder of either the grant of probate or letters of administration when it is necessary to transfer the deed or grant of the grave to a family member on closure of the deceased's estate
- Statutory declaration - an original document to be completed and witnessed by a magistrate, JP or commissioner of oaths. Normally used where no other official documents have been issued or applied for
- Form of assignment - used by a living owner to transfer or change the ownership of the Exclusive Right of Burial
In relation to the form of assent, statutory declaration and form of assignment, we will provide these forms and assist with their completion.