It is estimated that just over a quarter of the British population chooses a traditional burial but even this relatively low percentage is still proving to be too much for cemeteries in the UK. Many local councils are having trouble providing spaces for their deceased residents, and it has been estimated that almost all of London s cemeteries will be full by 2030. If you are considering a burial for yourself, even simply for your ashes after having been cremated, it may be best to act now and ensure that there will be a space reserved for you whenever you need it.
Selecting a Burial Plot
Given the high demand for the limited supply of plots available in UK cemeteries and graveyards, there may not be too many options available from which you can still select a burial plot. However, this does not mean that there aren t still some decisions to be made. To begin with, think about where you would like to be laid to rest. Is there a certain town or city? Is there a particular graveyard or cemetery? Would you prefer to be in consecrated ground? Once you have a general idea of where you would like to be buried, contact the Cemetery Services (or similar) department of the local council in that area. This office will be able to tell you all about the burial options within their remit, though chances are that fees will be higher if you are not a resident of that area at the time of your death.
Do not be surprised if the office tells you that you can not buy a burial plot outright, but instead can buy the exclusive rights to that land for a certain number of years (usually between 25 and 100 years). This is a typical situation. It means that you will be awarded a Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial (or similar) and will then be the only person able to bury in that plot for the number of years you have purchased. Often there will be the option to renew the Grant for another number of years if necessary.
Purchasing a Burial Plot as a Gift
Some people would like their whole family to be buried close to each other, and thus inquire about purchasing multiple plots with the intention of gifting them to others. Generally this is not a problem, but you will need to speak to the local authorities about their specific rules and regulations. It may be that you must provide a name for each plot, so think carefully about for whom you will be purchasing the exclusive rights. Also consider if you will still be willing to pay for an extension to the rights for that plot if needed in the future.
Not Purchasing a Burial Plot
At the moment it is by no means essential to pre-purchase the rights to a burial plot if you would like to be buried when you pass away. If you do not pre-purchase a plot, it is most likely that your loved ones will simply allow the funeral director to make these arrangements when they are needed. If, however, there are certain items that you would like included in your funeral service, buried with you in your coffin, or used to mark your grave, then these stipulations should be specifically written out in your will.
Purchasing a burial plot is an attractive option to people who want to be sure of their final resting place. It is not, however, strictly necessary to pre-purchase a burial plot for yourself. If you would like to be buried but have not pre-purchased a plot, leave these instructions in your will and you re loved ones, with the help of their funeral director, will work towards seeing them through.