Shropshire Council

Transference of grave ownership

The transference of the exclusive right of burial and memorialisation

When the right to be buried in a grave is purchased for a grave in one of our cemeteries it gives the purchaser or those that he or she nominates the right to be buried within that grave. Depending upon the cemetery, and how deep the grave is initially dug, it may be possible to have one, two or three coffins interred, and in many cases up to eight sets of ashes may also be interred within that same grave. However, before a burial or interment of ashes can take place it is necessary to establish that the deceased person has the right to be interred within that grave.

The ownership of the 'exclusive right of burial and memorialisation', confirmed by the issue of a deed of grant, becomes part of a person’s estate. The owner can transfer the right to another party during his/her lifetime by a deed of assignment for a consideration or as a gift. On the death of the owner, the rules of inheritance apply as modified by the Administration of Estates Act 1925, which gave equal rights to all children of a marriage.

The transference of the right is a legal process, but it must be completed for an interment to proceed if the right to be interred within that grave is not already vested with the person to be interred. The transference can be achieved, depending on the prevailing circumstances by the following...

Probate of the will

If the deceased has left a will, and the estate is of a value which makes it necessary to obtain probate, the probate of the will needs to be produced to the office at Emstrey Crematorium to affect a transfer. If the exclusive right of burial and memorialisation has not been mentioned in the will the ownership would devolve upon the residual legatee(s). If the will is not proven then a declaration would be needed.

Letters of administration

If the deceased died intestate and the estate required the obtaining of letters of administration, these would need to be provided to the office at Emstrey Crematorium in order to establish the new ownership.

Statutory declaration

Where the estate does not require letters of administration it is necessary to obtain a statutory declaration. The declaration would be made before a justice of the peace or a commissioner for oaths by the person wanting to establish the new ownership. It will state the exact position regarding the original acquisition of the right and the subsequent death and estate of the deceased owner, and recognise the new legal grave owner.

The declaration will also include an indemnification clause indemnifying the council in the case of any action challenging the new registration. On receipt of the completed declaration we would transfer the exclusive right of burial and memorialisation to the new owner(s), and keep the declaration on file. Once the new ownership has been set in place it will be possible for the new owner to assign the right to whomever he or she wishes.