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Home burial

In the event that you wish to be buried at home, there is no legal reason from an Environmental Health or Planning Department perspective to prevent this. You will need to outline this wish in your Will or some other legal document which specifies your requirements. The arrangements should be made in advance with an undertaker who is sympathetic to this type of burial and discussed with your executors. There are other factors that you will also need to consider before you go ahead with a home burial.

Legal requirements

You must register the burial in accordance with the Registration of Burials Act 1864 unless, provided for in other legislation. Although a private piece of land might not be a 'burial ground' as mentioned by the Act, it could be argued that it becomes one if a burial takes place in it. Therefore it may be prudent for the burial to be recorded in accordance with the Act by taking and preserving the particulars of it. The Act says only that registrations should be held in the keeping of the owner of the burial ground. It would seem appropriate for a copy of those particulars to be kept by the owner with the deeds to the property. With regard to the actual burial, the coffin must be buried at least 3 feet below ground level.

Planning permission may also be required for any monuments you, or relatives, may wish to erect at the site.

In regard to decency, you should consider how you wish to be covered at the time of burial. Your undertaker would be able to advise you further on this matter.

You will need to contact us to ascertain if there are any private water supplies in the area and the Environment Agency at the same time with regard to watercourses and other water supplies.

Visiting the grave

If the property is sold, then there is no guarantee that future owners of the property would allow access to relatives who may wish to visit the grave.

Possible removal of the grave

If the property were sold or even subject to redevelopment there is no guarantee that future owners of the property would allow you to rest in peace and an application could be made for exhumation at a later date and reinterment in a suitable alternative location such as a cemetery.

It is recommended that an 'informative' be added to the Land registry so that a permanent record is available for future purchasers etc.

Property value

The value of your property could be negatively affected and this should be considered.

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