Burials in Existing Family Graves
If you already have a family grave in the Shaftesbury Road Cemetery it may be possible for a further burial or interment of ashes to take place in the grave. To re-open existing family graves, consent will be required from the registered owner. Applications for interments need to be submitted to Wilton Town Council and can only proceed on approval from the Town Clerk.
Being the registered owner of a grave gives you the right to be interred in the plot without permission from anyone else. The owner is the only person authorised to give consent for any further interments or to allow the erection of a memorial or any changes to be made.
Transfer of burial rights
After the registered owner has been buried, the ‘burial rights’ to the grave should then be transferred at the earliest opportunity.
Burial ‘Rights’ – What are they?
The Exclusive Right of Burial for a grave gives a person(s) the 'right' to say who can be buried in the grave. Burial 'rights' also include the right to erect a memorial.
The granting of burial rights to a grave does not mean you own the land itself but have the exclusive right, during the period stated on the grave deed, to say who can be buried in the grave. A memorial can be erected and remain on the grave for the period of the lease.
The initial Exclusive Right of Burial lease for a grave is currently for 50 years. Wilton Town Council retains ownership of the land at all times.
The person(s) registered as the owner(s) of the Exclusive Rights of Burial in a grave or cremation plot have certain rights and responsibilities.
They have the right to:
• be buried in the grave or plot if space is available (includes cremated remains);
• authorise further burials in the grave where space is available or for the interment or scattering of cremated remains;
• place an inscribed memorial on the grave or give permission for an additional inscription to be added.
They are responsible for:
• ensuring the memorial is in a safe condition and pay for repairs required.
It is not unusual for an Exclusive Right of Burial to be owned by more than one person. In this situation all living owners must give their consent before any interments take place (except where a current owner is being buried) or a memorial is erected/altered.
How to transfer the Exclusive Right of Burial in a grave or cremation plot
A situation often arises where registered owner(s) are deceased and other family members want to arrange for a further burial to take place or for an additional inscription to be placed on the memorial. As stated a living owner(s) is required to give permission for a burial to take place or a memorial to be erected/ altered. In order for the burial or memorial request to proceed the exclusive right of burial needs to be transferred to the person(s) entitled to the rights.
Transferring the burial rights needs to be done
• if the registered owner(s) as stated in our burial registers is deceased but left a Will and their estate went to probate - see Probate & Assent section;
• if the registered owner left an Estate of Sufficient Value that probate was required - see Probate and Assent section;
• if the registered owner(s) left a Will, but there were insufficient funds for probate - see what is a Statutory Declaration section
• if the registered owner(s) is deceased and did not leave a Will a Statutory Declaration is required - see What is a Statutory Declaration section.
Probate and Assent
When an estate goes to probate the Executor swears on oath the Will is the deceased’s last valid Will. Once issued the Executor will receive the Seal of Probate, a document with an embossed seal in the right hand corner. We need to see this document (photocopies are not acceptable). The probate document will be returned once the Transfer of Burial Rights has been completed.
We also require an 'Assent of Executor or Administrator' form to be completed by all of the Executors named on the probate. The Executor(s) are required to provide names and addresses of the person(s) who are to be the registered owners of the Exclusive Right of Burial.
What Is a Statutory Declaration?
A Statutory Declaration is a typed sworn statement explaining the registered owner of a grave/plot is deceased and names who is entitled to the Exclusive Rights of Burial and why. This statement must give names of all those persons entitled to the Rights, whether they wish to be owners or not.
If you wish to type the declaration yourself, we can supply you with an example of the wording required and text to include in the body of the statement. You can bring a draft of the Statutory Declaration into the office for us to check or email: Clerk@wiltontowncouncil.gov.uk before going to the Commissioner of Oaths/magistrates.
Who is entitled to the burial rights?
The grave owner left a Will but of insufficient value to go to Probate? The main beneficiary of the deceased's estate is entitled to the burial rights (subject to the completion and approval of appropriate Transfer/Assignment of the Exclusive Right of Burial). If the estate is divided equally between a number of persons, they are all entitled to the burial rights (subject to the completion and approval of appropriate Transfer/Assignment of the Exclusive Right of Burial).
When a Will has been left, we will need to see a copy to advise you on your declaration.
Renunciation - what does this mean?
Renunciation is when a registered owner or someone entitled to the Burial Rights does not wish to retain their 'rights'. To renounce their rights the registered owner will need to contact the Town Council's office.
Assignment of Right of Burial - what does this mean?
If you are the registered owner(s) of the Exclusive Right of Burial for a grave/ plot and would like another person(s) to also be an owner(s) you can assign the rights making them joint owners - see Ownership - what does this mean section. Assigning the Right of Burial jointly has many benefits:
• in the future when an owner is deceased this leaves a remaining owner(s) and no further legal transfer would be required;
• if it is your intention to be buried in the grave you own, assigning the 'rights' jointly ensures this can still take place (provided adequate space is available) without seeking permission from another person;
• ensures there is a 'living' owner to take care of the memorial arrangements and any future renewal of the lease.
An Assignment form is also completed when a registered owner wishes to renunciate their interest.
Leases of graves and cremation plots
When the Cemetery opened graves were leased in perpetuity (99 years). This means each time a burial occurred the lease was automatically extended and the 99 years began again. This is why families believed a grave was purchased forever.
Change of address
Please let us know if you change your address. If our records are kept up-to-date we can let you know when:
• the exclusive right of burial in your grave/cremation plot is due for renewal
• provide important information following a memorial safety inspection
• advise you when a memorial lease is due for renewal
When a Transfer/Assignment or Assent is requested, by law we are required, to amend our statutory registers and electronic records.
Fees payable to other organisations:-
• swearing on oath at Commissioner of Oaths/magistrates
• statutory declaration provided by a solicitor
This Cemetery is an open cemetery and is owned and maintained by Wilton Town Council. For enquiries about existing graves plots or to enquire about new plots please contact the Clerk and Assistant Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com .