Burial Plot Advice

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Memorial for burial of cremated remains at Crematorium: Crematorium says I must choose from their limited range of headstones

My mother was recently cremated at our local crematorium and her ashes have now been returned to me. We are a Roman Catholic family and I would prefer to have her ashes buried in the Crematorium garden and mark the grave with a headstone. The intention is she will eventually be joined by my father (who is in senior care) and possibly at a future date by others in the family. We very much like the location of the Crematorium which is a tranquil and peaceful location, but on making enquiries I was told that if we are to bury the cremated remains and have a headstone to mark the grave we will have to choose from their range of memorials, which are frankly very limited and quite expensive. I would if possible like Mum to buried there but I have seen a headstone I much prefer in a range I was shown by my funeral director but this is not approved by the Crematorium. Is it right that they can profit in this way?

The Crematorium where your mother was cremated is privately owned and they set strict rules as to what headstones they deem acceptable in order to present a consistent look to their burial areas. Their terms are clear and they will only accept headstones that meet their approval. You might try and appeal this to the Crematorium manager or failing that, to more senior management at the Crematorium Company (for which we can provide you contact details) but past experience suggests they will not move on this.

Hence you need to make a choice between the location—and choosing the grave from their available range—and choosing the gravestone you want but at a different location.

Several dedicated cemeteries near your location will accept cremated remains for burial and will accept your own choice of memorial. The NAMM and BRAMM registered Monumental Mason for your chosen memorial should be familiar with the procedure for securing a permit which will involve providing a drawing and adhering to somewhat less rigid rules and will be able to assist you. We have asked him to contact you to advise you on the process and to give you a timeline and cost for the memorial’s completion and erection.

Purchase of a ‘Grave in Reserve’ – What is it? What rights do I have? What are the financing options?

My family all wish to be buried close to each other and I am looking to purchase a plot (grave in reserve) for future use which is close to my mother and father. However we are in London and the costs are prohibitively expensive even as a resident of the borough where the cemetery is located and must be paid straight away. Do you have any suggestions as to how we might fund the purchase (£3358) and on what grounds is it held. And if our circumstances were to change would I be able to sell it? If so, what is the process for doing so?

A GRAVE  IN RESERVE is a purchase of a burial plot for future use where the set location you choose is the one you get. The plot will remain reserved for you and/or to be used by you for the term, which is normally 75 years. As new graves come to be taken the grave allocated to others yours will remain unused so if the location close to your parents is important it is an important purchase.

If you are prepared to wait, we have checked and there is sufficient capacity within your chosen cemetery at the current rate of occupation for you almost certain to be permitted to be buried there in future, but of course there can be no guarantees and without a Grave in Reserve purchase you will not be allocated a set position. However the purchase of a Grave in Reserve comes at a premium of more than £1500.

The terms of the purchase mean a grave is reserved for a period of up to 75 years from the purchase for which you get the Exclusive Right of Burial which is governed by a legal document (similar to a lease) called a Deed of Grant.

Should your circumstances change the plot can be sold, although a small charge will be incurred with the local authority for the transfer (currently less than £200).

In terms of funding, our credit provider Funeral Safe will lend money for plot purchase (subject to status) and at this level of loan over 60 months, repayments at current interest rates would be £79.59 a month. We would strongly suggest you get a decision in principal before committing to purchase by completing the Funeral Safe application so you are effectively in the position of a cash buyer when the purchase is made.

We trust this free advice is useful to you. Should you need any further free advice or assistance on any funeral matter our helpdesk and concierge teams will be happy to help.

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Bereavement support and non-financial advice services are delivered through of The Bereavement Advice Service CIC. The Bereavement Advice Service CIC is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company Limited by Guarantee, Registration Number: 13288315.

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