Legal Requirements For a Burial

These are the documents that the funeral director often times state that they will arrange or takecare of ‘all legal requirements‘ to enable for the funeral to ‘legally’ go ahead. However, in terms of actually completing these documents, the legal obligation is on the relatives of the deceased / executor of the Will the Coroner and medical professionals to complete these, not the funeral director. It is the relatives and the medical professionals and the Corner who actually completes all these tasks. The role of the funeral director plays is gathering these completed documents and deliver them to the Cemetery Office within the correct time frame.

The forms required will depend on two factors, whether death has been reported to the Coroner or not.

FOR A BURIAL OF A DECEASED WITH NO CORONER INVOLVEMENT

  • Green Certificate (from the Registrar)
  • Interment Form

THE GREEN CERTIFICATE:

When someone passes away the medical practitioner who certifies that death has occurred will produce a medical certificate which is given by them to the family. Most cases the family is also provided with details of how to register the death.

The Family themselves or the person legally responsible for registering the death will make the appointment and attend the registrar wit the relevant documents and information needed to register the death.

When you register the death the registrar with give you a green certificate. This is the authorisation for Burial or Cremation. The family gives the green certificate to the funeral director. (The Green Certificate is also required to collect a deceased from a hospital mortuary.)

THE INTERMENT FORM:

Interment Forms are cemetery specific and as such are supplied by each cemetery. Although each Cemetery will produce their own Interment Forms the requirements and details required are similar.

There are different section of the form applying to different burial requirements, either the purchase of a new grave or the opening of an existing grave.

The purchasing of a grave is relatively straight forward. It may be possible to select the plot that you purchase, but this is subject to each cemetery as grave spaces are not in vast quantity.

Local Authority managed cemeteries usually have sections for all denominations, Christian, Muslim and Jewish. Some will also have Woodland Burial sections too.

The interment form will also ask for the outside measurements of the coffin / casket taking into account the handles, this needs to be accurate to enable the gravediggers to prepare the correct size grave and this is the only information that the cemetery has as they do not see the coffin until the time of the funeral.

FOR A BURIAL OF A DECEASED WHEN THE DEATH HAS BEEN REPORTED TO THE CORONER

  • Corners Burial Order (Form 101)
  • Interment Form

THE CORONERS BURIAL ORDER (Form 101)

This is issued by the Coroner to enable the funeral to go ahead when there is a Coroners investigation / inquest taking place. The form is normally collected from the Coroners office and taken to the Cemetery office along with the completed Interment Form.

THE INTERMENT FORM

The Interment form is exactly the same as it is for ordering a burial when the Coroner is not involved.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS to take into account when booking a burial with a cemetery:

  • whether it is an existing grave being used or a new grave is being purchased
  • if an existing grave is being used you will need the grave owners permission on the interment form and or the original deed of grant for the grave to be used
  • if the grave is owned by the deceased person being buried then no permissions are needed to open the grave, however the ownership will need to be transferred to a person with ‘proper’ right to it, this can be done after the funeral has taken place
  • if there is an existing grave being used and there is monumental masonry (headstones) on the grave the cemetery will normally require specific notice periods to enable it to be removed prior to the burial
  • if there is a new grave being used the grave, the Exclusive Right of Burial can be purchased for that grave. Exclusive right of burials that no one else’s remains or ashes can be buried in that plot for the duration of the Deed of Grant, which is typically 50 or 75 years.
  • all Cemeteries have their own policy and procedures that have to be followed
  • Local Authority Cemeteries are legally responsible for all management of the grounds under the Local Authorities’ Order 1977
  • come cemeteries may only allow a particular stone mason to erect provide, erect and maintain monumental masonry on any graves