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Exclusive Rights of Burial and Grave Transfers

Granting, Exercising & Transferring Rights of Burial

What is Exclusive Right of Burial?

When your loved one has passed, you may be considering burial or the burial of cremated remains and may want to purchase a grave within one of our cemeteries; this is called the Exclusive Right of Burial.

The registered owner(s) of the Exclusive Right of Burial has the right to be buried in the grave and can give permission for others to be buried in the grave. We permit up to four purchasers (registered owners) for a grave space and strongly recommend a minimum of two purchasers as this safeguards the grave.

Purchasers must be aged 18 years or above. All registered grave owners have the right to be buried within the grave, without the need for written permission by any other registered grave owner.

Deed of Grant

A Deed of Grant will be issued by the Bereavement Care Office to the first named purchaser on the Exclusive Right of Burial application form and all other purchasers will be listed on the grave record within our database. Although they do not hold the physical document for the Deed of Grant, they maintain the same rights. The permission of all grave owners is required for burial to take place. In the instance a grave owner does not give permission, the burial cannot take place.

The Deed of Grant will grant the Exclusive Right of Burial in a grave space for a maximum period of 50 years. The lease can be extended but cannot exceed 50 years at any one time. For example, if a lease has 40 years left, you can purchase an extension of 10 years to the maximum of 50 years.

Owning the Exclusive Right of Burial to a grave also gives the registered grave owner(s) permission to have a memorial headstone erected for their loved one. 

Only single grave purchases are permitted at any one time unless a request is made for the purchase of a companion grave.

For pricing of pre-purchase and reclaim graves please read this page.


Transfer of Grave Ownership

Transfer of Grave Ownership is required when the grave owner has died. The deceased grave owner has the right to be buried in the grave and have an additional inscription added to an already existing memorial to commemorate them. If you wish to erect a new memorial, arrange another burial or carry out works on the grave, the grave must be transferred prior (see application form download at the bottom of this page).

A living grave owner may wish to transfer the ownership of a grave to a new owner or may wish to add more names to the grave ownership.

The Transfer of Grave Ownership Process

The Transfer of Grave Ownership process varies depending on the circumstance. This is decided by whether the deceased had a Will or if a Grant of Probate was issued. If you’re unsure you can visit where you can find that information. If you find that probate was granted and wish to transfer grave ownership using the Grant of Probate from the government website, then we require a sealed copy of the probate document which can be purchased from the government website.

Please look at our current price list for details on the cost of transferring grave ownership.

Family Disputes

Where there is a family dispute and the necessary consents are withheld, the ownership cannot be transferred and therefore no further burials will be permitted.


A Form of Renunciation is used in conjunction with a statutory declaration and is only used in circumstances where; -

"The grave is being claimed by more than one person i.e. the deceased may have three children and next-of-kin, and one or more of those children wishes to give up their Rights to the ownership.’’

Who can grave ownership be transferred to?

It is a frequent misconception that when the grave owner dies the burial rights are automatically transferred to the applicant of the burial or spouse of the deceased, the eldest child, the next of kin or the possessor of the Deed of Grant. This is not the case, there is a legal process that must be upheld. This is based on whether the deceased left a Will, if probate is/has been obtained, or if there are no letters of administration.

The entitled persons, in the absence of any letters of administration, are the deceased’s family in the following order:

  1. The spouse
  2. The children
  3. The parents
  4. The siblings

Transfer of Grave Ownership Application Form

To transfer ownership of a grave, you will need to complete a Transfer of Grave Ownership Application Form