Exclusive right of burial
At our cemeteries you can buy the rights to the grave, known as the exclusive right of burial. When you buy the exclusive right of burial you have the right to say who can be buried, or have ashes buried or scattered, in the grave. Owners of rights also have an automatic right of burial in the grave.
Do I have to buy the exclusive right of burial?
No. You can have a full burial or a burial of ashes in an unpurchased grave. In this case you pay only for the burial. There are some points to be aware of if you opt for this type of burial:
The current fees are shown on our Fees and charges page.
Can more than one person own the right?
Legally a number of people can jointly own the right of burial. You should bear in mind that all owners must agree if a grave is to be opened for a burial, or a memorial placed or altered.
All grave owners have a legal right to be buried in the grave. When there are a number of grave owners and one dies, the rights are shared by the remaining owners. The last surviving owner only can pass on the rights at death.
How long does the exclusive right of burial last?
Exclusive rights of burial can be purchased for 30 or 50 years, with an option to renew at the end of the rights period. Different arrangements apply to the
What happens if the owner of the right dies?
The owner of the exclusive right of burial has an automatic right to be buried in the grave.
After death the right becomes part of their estate and can be assigned by their executor to someone else. The executor will need to contact us to arrange a legal transfer of ownership before the grave can be opened again. If you are the owner of the right to a grave we advise you to make provision for the right in your will. Where there is no probate we can arrange transfer by statutory declaration.
The new owner will be able to place a new memorial or alter an existing one once they have obtained the right to erect a memorial. If the memorial right was held by the previous owner of the exclusive right of burial it will be transferred automatically.
Can I transfer ownership of the exclusive right of burial to someone else?
Yes, contact us and we will send you a form.
Is there a fee for transferring the exclusive right of burial?
Please see Fees and charges for the current fee.
The owner of the right died years ago and the family want to reuse the grave
Contact us and we will work out how to transfer ownership. You may need to show us the grant of probate or a copy of the will if you have it. If you do not have documentation we will ask you to make a statutory declaration in front of a solicitor.
Ownership is the family's responsibility and we cannot legally accept a booking for a burial without an owner. This means you should contact us as soon as possible - don't wait until you need to arrange a funeral.
Can I reserve a grave ahead of time?
You can now reserve plots for burial and plots in the gardens of remembrance.
Graves in the Natural burial ground cannot have a memorial placed on them and are for a single coffin only. There is therefore no need to purchase the exclusive right of burial or memorial right.
What if the deed to the exclusive right of burial goes missing?
If you are the registered owner of the right we will send you an official letter to confirm this. If you are entitled to the right through inheritance, we will guide you through the correct transfer procedure and then issue a letter stating your position.
What if I inherit the right to a grave that I do not wish to maintain?
You may surrender the right to us at any time. Please write to us stating that you wish to surrender the right and enclosing the deed if you have it.
Please inform us of any change of address
As owner of the right to a grave you are responsible for informing the Council of any change of address. If a problem occurs with the grave or memorial and we cannot contact you, we have the right to take whatever action is necessary to put the problem right. If this involves a cost to the Council, we may ask you to pay this before allowing any further burials in your grave.
Old family graves
We have a number of old family graves with no owners as the rights were not routinely sold in the past. We may award complimentary 10 year free rights to these graves to close relatives.