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Can anyone erect a headstone on a grave and how can one be replaced?

Can anyone erect a headstone on a grave and how can one be replaced?

There are several rules regarding who can erect a memorial stone on a grave and who can replace one. As to how headstones are managed, much depends on who is named on the Deed of Grant to a burial plot and the local rules applied by the cemetery and local authority if they own it.

Who has the right to place a memorial on a grave?

When a grave is purchased, a Deed of Grant is bestowed on the Registered Grave Owner. This entitles them to exclusive rights for a period of 50 years. After this, the Deed of Grant can be extended. A person other than the original owner can also renew it at this point.

Only the person named on the deed is entitled to put a headstone on the grave, in accordance with the rules of the cemetery. Once it is erected, only the Registered Grave Owner has the authority to issue instructions to replace or remove it.

Can anyone else be involved in the erection and management of a memorial stone?

There are some circumstances in which other people can have a say in what happens to a headstone, including its replacement. Specifically, these are:

  • If the Registered Grave Owner agrees to give up their rights to a grave. A Transfer of Deed must be completed and registered by both the present and future owners.
  • If the holder of the Deed of Grant dies, the deed can be willed to someone else. A transfer will usually need to be registered with the cemetery. Different rules apply if there is no valid will. The cemetery or a family solicitor will be able to advise on these.

Of course, if you are a family member you can be involved in having a say on what happens to a headstone, provided the Registered Grave Owner agrees and signs whatever documents are required.

Local cemetery rules will apply but it is usually recommended that you wait at least six months before erecting a headstone. This may seem a little counterintuitive as you may wish to handle everything close to the time of the funeral and erect a tribute as soon as possible. However, cemeteries usually stipulate this to allow time for the ground to settle. It will also allow you to give plenty of thought to the headstone you want once the emotion of saying goodbye has settled a little.

Find out more

If the cemetery you have chosen is run by a local authority or a parish council, they will usually be the body to contact if you have queries about headstones. So, for example, if you have opted for services from funeral directors Manchester-based, Manchester City Council would be the organisation to contact.

If you have any queries about any of our funeral and cremation packages, including advice on memorials, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly and experienced team at Far and Beyond.