Grave Ownership

Grave ownership (Exclusive Right of Burial) and transferring ownership can appear quite complicated and daunting. The leaflet, see link below, will hopefully enable you to identify your own scenario and what you need to do next.

What is an Exclusive Right of Burial?

When you purchase a grave, you are not purchasing the land, you purchase the Exclusive Right of Burial for a set period, known as a lease. The exclusive Right of Burial gives the holder, the Right to say who can be buried into the grave or ashes scattered thereon, and if memorial Rights are included (subject to Council approval), what memorial can be erected, or inscription included.

If the owner of the Exclusive Right dies, they have the automatic right to be buried or have their ashes buried in that grave (subject to sufficient capacity). The Exclusive Right then forms part of the deceased’s estate. But in every other instance, a living owner is required to authorise the preparation of the grave for a future burial or the placement of and/or change to any memorial.

Ownership can be transferred via a Form of Assignment during the owner’s lifetime or after they have died by Probate of the Will or in the absence of one, by Grant of Letters of administration of the deceased’s estate. Please note this is a legal requirement, and the burial authority cannot deviate from this.


Download the Exclusive Right of Burial Leaflet.


For further Information please contact:

Colchester Cemetery, Mersea Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8RU.

Telephone: 01206 282950 Email:


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