Grave Ownership

Exclusive Rights of Burial

An Exclusive Right of Burial (ERoB) allows the purchaser to bury human remains in an agreed grave plot. A grave which is subject to an Exclusive Right of Burial may not be opened without the owner's permission and providing there is sufficient burial space available.

The Exclusive Rights of Burial for a grave plot are available to purchase in advance or alternatively a plot can be purchased at the time of need. To reserve a plot or book a burial, you or your appointed funeral director can contact us on 01902 696111.

An Exclusive Right of Burial does not constitute any ownership of land; the land remains in the Council's ownership. You have the right, during the period stated in the grant of Exclusive Right of Burial, to say who can be buried in the grave.

A grant of Exclusive Right of Burial will be issued to the owner which should be kept in a safe place as it will be needed when a burial is required in the future. The grant of Exclusive Right of Burial is initially granted for 50 years. At the owners' request, the period of the Grant can be extended by increments of 25 years, up to a maximum of 100 years.

The Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial does not include permission to erect a memorial. The right to erect a memorial must be applied for separately. The owner(s) of the right to erect a memorial must be the same as the owner of the Exclusive Right of Burial. The owner of the Exclusive Right of Burial will be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of a memorial stone placed on it.

Transfer of Exclusive Rights of Burial

If the owner of an exclusive right of burial has died the ownership will need to be transferred to a living owner. The deceased owner automatically has the right to be buried in the grave plot. A living owner may also transfer the exclusive right of burial at any point should they wish to do so.

If the deceased owner has made a valid will that requires grant of probate, ownership of the grave can be transferred to the executor(s). The applicant must produce a sealed copy of the grant of probate and complete an application form before the transfer of ownership can be completed.

If there is no will, or the will is not valid, and the estate is of sufficient value as to require a grant of letters of administration, ownership of the grave can be transferred to the personal representative of the deceased. The applicant must produce a sealed copy of the grant of letters of administration form and complete an application form. It is then the applicant's responsibility to identify the correct person for ownership to be transferred to and agree to the transfer by completing a Form of Assent.

If there are no executors, or letters of administration the deceased is said to have died intestate and there are specific rules when dealing with these cases. The person applying for the transfer of ownership will need to complete a Statutory Declaration. This is a legal document produced by the Council and must be signed in the presence of a Magistrate or Commissioner for Oaths.

The Statutory Declaration will set out the facts regarding the original purchase of the exclusive rights of burial, the death of the registered owner, intestate or otherwise and the relationship of the applicant to the registered owner. The original grant of exclusive right of burial and a copy of the deceased owner's death certificate will need to be supplied. Where the original grant has been lost, suitable wording should be incorporated within the declaration to that effect.

It is essential that the written agreement of all the next of kin of the deceased owner must also be obtained for the transfer of ownership and attached to the Statutory Declaration.

There is a fee for the transfer of an Exclusive Right of Burial which is currently £68.00.

Please see the Useful Links section below for information on the following:

  • Information on Wills, Probate and Inheritance on the Gov.UK website
  • If you need to obtain a copy of a death certificate and you know the date and area in which the death occurred you can do so via Staffordshire Registration Services
  • If you need a copy of the death certificate but do not know the date or area in which the death occurred you can apply to the General Register Office (GRO) for a search on the national database
  • If you need to find out whether a will was made you can search the Gov.UK 'Find a Will' website

Please contact Bereavement Services for more details

Telephone: (01902) 696111

Email: bereavementservices@sstaffs.gov.uk

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South Staffs Council

Wolverhampton Road, Codsall

South Staffordshire

WV8 1PX

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