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When considering transferring ownership of a grave, it is really important to be aware that it is against the law to open a grave for burial. This includes a burial of cremated remains or to place cremated remains upon the surface of a grave without the written permission of the registered owner, unless of course, the burial is that of the grave owner.
Where the owner has previously been buried, then without exception a new owner must first be registered to reopen a grave for burial, place a memorial or an additional inscription upon a memorial.
In the following circumstances, a transfer of the Ownership of the Exclusive Right of Burial will be required:
• When an application is made for a burial in the grave but the Registered Owner is already dead
• When an application is made for a memorial to be erected on the grave, but the Registered Owner is already dead
• When the exiting memorial is to be changed, but the Registered Owner is dead
• When the Registered Owner has died, and a new owner would like to be registered
The following documents may be required for the transfer of the ownership:
• Grant of Probate
• Grant of Letters of Administration
• The Will of Probate
Establishing grave ownership when the owner has died;
When the original owner has died, the transfer will depend upon whether there is a Will. If the deceased grave owner has made a valid Will and left an estate of sufficient value to require the Grant of Probate to Executors, ownership of the grave can be transferred to the Executor on production of a sealed copy of the Grant of Probate.
If the estate is not of sufficient value, ownership may be transferred to the Executor named in the Will on production of a sealed copy of that Will. It is then the Executor’s responsibility to identify the correct person who should take ownership of the grave.
If there is no Will or the Will is not valid, and the estate is of insufficient value as to require a grant of Letters of Administration, ownership of the grave can be transferred to the personal representative of the deceased. If letters of Administration were granted, these must be produced for a transfer to take place.
Usually the local Cemetery Office should be in a position to help clients throughout the process of the transfer process and the original grave Deed and a certified copy of the owner’s death certificate will be required.
Transferring grave Ownership when the owner is alive:
During their lifetime, the Registered Grave Owner can also apply, at any time, to transfer the grave to someone else.