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The Rights to Obtain a Headstone?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 8 Sep 2020 | comments*Discuss
Grave Cemetery Plot Gravestone Grave


I lost my dad when I was really young and have never had a gravestone at his plot.

Because of a family argument, my uncle got the deeds to the plot rather than my mother and he never got a headstone because he didn't want him buried.

Can you give me any advice about how I would obtain the rights to get a headstone now - many years later? I would buy them if possible. Or could you give any advice about what I am entiled to do with the plot without needing the deeds such as putting a permentant vase or something there instead?

(I.F, 13 April 2009)


What may be put on a grave site depends upon both the Deed of Grant as related to the plot and the rules and regulations of cemetery in which the grave resides.

Generally it is only the person who is named on the Deed of Grant to a cemetery plot who can erect memorials and decide upon the inscription of these items, but there may be some situations in which others can become involved. If, for example, the Deed of Grant has expired and needs to be extended then it may be that a second individual can become involved and do this. Similarly, if the person named on the Deed of Grant dies then the Deed becomes a part of his or her estate or is given to his or her next of kin.

However, for individuals who want to become more involved in the grave without waiting for one of these events, then a transfer of Deed can be undertaken. This requires the person named on the Deed to agree to transfer the title, and requires that both the person named on the Deed and the person to whom the Deed is transferring must register the new information at the cemetery office.

In addition to having the right to erect a memorial via the Deed of Grant, what may be put on a grave site must also conform to the cemetery's rules and regulations. These guidelines may specify the size and/or shape of a memorial, the type of materials which may be used, the number of items which may be erected and also cover smaller items such as permanent vases and plaques. These guidelines will also cover who has the right to erect or leave such items, so it is important to make sure that they are totally understood before any decisions are made regarding memorials.

If, after you check on both the Deed and the cemetery's regulations, you find that you will be unable to erect a gravestone as desired then you might consider another way of honouring your father. Planting a tree or flowers in his name, donating a bench in his name, erecting a plaque somewhere else in the cemetery or in another location may be possible ways by which his presence is acknowledged without requiring the Deed to his plot.

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Loving daughter,sister,wife, Mawmaw grandma great granny Until we meet again you will be missed love you always
Norma Jean - 8-Sep-20 @ 5:18 AM
My father passed away in January and I’ve been trying to get his headstone. My parents divorced 5 years ago. I am the only child of his second marriage. He had 9 children with his first wife. 6 of us signed for the cremation consent but now his oldest daughter from his first marriage refuses to sign for the headstone. What can we do if she does not sign.
LMG - 15-Aug-20 @ 6:54 AM
Im wondering if there is any charities than help me , my daughter and son committed suicide october 2019 .And i would like a gravestone for them,but im currently on the sick and living off benefits, and would like to know if there is any charities that could help me finance the gravestone.
Fenny - 7-Aug-20 @ 9:01 AM
My Ex passed away and my ex’s family have erected a headstone with my daughters full name on without mine or My daughters permission consent.Is there any rules about this our can anyone put what they want on a gravestone
Towie - 26-Jul-20 @ 1:20 PM
My mother in law passed away in april my wife sisterburied her with out any one knowing , my wife and her siblingsfound out threw a facebook post.. My wife and her siblingswould like to purchase a tombstone for their mother but her sisterhas the deed what can we do ??? Also she listed her self as an only child in order to receivethat deed.. any adviceas to what we can do ??
Dona - 13-Jul-20 @ 6:14 PM
My son was in my sisters care but not legally we buied him she has the deeds but we have feel out I have now heard she wants to put my sons last name in irish just to hurt me and his father can she do that with out my permission
Lou - 6-Jun-20 @ 12:12 PM
I lost my son 2 years ago, my ex wasn’t at any of his services, because he was to busy putting a needle in his arm (while driving) he ended up smashing into multiple cars and was sent to jail for a little over a yr.. now he’s out and he (against my wishes and cultural beliefs) has placed a huge headstone at his site. Is there anything I can do?
Aponi - 2-May-20 @ 11:22 PM
My sister has been cremated but doesn't want to be scattered in our hometown. But like to put a beautiful cross beside our grandmother for her remembrance. How do I do this please.
Cindee - 20-Apr-20 @ 8:53 PM
My mum was buried 2017.I am trying to erect a tablet, My sister is being very difficult, she will not allow my mum headstone to be touched same time she will not also allow a separate tablet to be fitted. Can I erect one with out her permission as the person buried is my own mum too and my sister is deliberately using our mum grave to hurt me.
Mems - 26-Mar-20 @ 9:12 PM
My mum was buried 2017.Iamtrying to erect a tablet, My sister is being very difficult, she will not allow my mum headstone to be touched same time shewill not also allow a separate tabletto be fitted. Can I erect onewithouther permission asthe person buried is my own mum tooand my sister is deliberatelyusing our mum grave to hurt me.
Mems - 25-Mar-20 @ 10:50 PM
Question please. I will soon own a natural burial ground in the UK. The local council planning permission basically states that we can NOT erect monuments OR gravestones. I want to confirm that so long as the Deed of Grant allows, and the Cemetery rules allow, we can mark the grave with say a max height 30cm grave marker? This is so we know who is buried in a particular place and that loved ones have a focal point to visit. I was told it is a human right to be able to mark any grave. Please advise. Thanks, Jonathan
JL - 20-Mar-20 @ 11:21 AM
My deceased wife grand daughter paid for the funeral with insurance money left to her. She refuses to let me the husband put a head stone on my wife's grave..what can I do legally.Its been two years since her death
The Brutha - 12-Feb-20 @ 2:58 PM
Continued i dont speak to him now havnt for a number of years and hes so bitter he wont even transfer the deeds willingly
Suzi - 4-Feb-20 @ 8:15 PM
My father has the deeds to my grans grave and not only hasnt paid all the funeral even though i paid him money towards it but she hasnt even got a proper grave stone. Can i either get the deeds if i pay rest of funeral off so i can put a grave stone up to mark her resting place?
Suzi - 4-Feb-20 @ 8:14 PM
I live with my partner, been together 35years, we have 3children, can I have wife put on my gravestone as I’m not legally his wife? Thank you
Dane - 22-Nov-19 @ 7:03 AM
Can my clientput a grave stone on her sons grave or even can her grandson do it as it was his dad
Tiddles - 15-Nov-19 @ 4:04 PM
My brother paased away 2 years ago and his live in girlfriend handled the funeral. She never paid for the funeral or the burial plot. It was paid from his estate. She is refusing to allow us (the brothers and sisters) to put a headstone on his grave. Can she legally stop us from doing so although she never paid for it?
Edy - 14-Nov-19 @ 1:34 AM
My dad passed away 3 years ago and his family said they would get him a headstone but never did and I as his daughter I would love to get one so I can go and spend time with him on his birthday, on Christmas and many other important days. Am I still able to get one for him even tho it has been 3 years?
Tiahn - 6-Sep-19 @ 8:22 AM
Can I get the current headstone for my dad who has recently passed engraved as my mother died first and there is already a headstone there without going through my sister who was the executor of the will and pay for the engraving myself
Andie - 3-Sep-19 @ 1:57 AM
The state paid my sons burial. They paid for marker. I want to put ahead stone on but they said I could not because state paid for it. It's been over 8 years know is there anyway I can fight this. I live and hi is buriedin Lexington ky.
Lee - 13-Aug-19 @ 3:14 AM
My dad was 90 years old he was an engineer for 50 years for H.B.&T railroad.He never had a dad His death was a result of. Gudalupe HOSPITAl in Seguin Texas.I can't say too much but I need help with a marker for his grave. It's in NewBrunfels Texas . Please help me.Thank You
None - 6-Jul-19 @ 9:58 AM
My son was buried with my grandmother a number of years ago I have been trying to erect a headstone to him for a long time however the family are being very difficult they will not allow my grandmas headstone to be touched but will also not allow a separate tablet can I put one on without there permission as it is a separate memorial
Mim - 17-Jun-19 @ 10:56 AM
I am wanting to put an headstone on my fathersgrave who died over35 years ago but as i only want to put my mothers/his wifes name and me and my brother on it can an estranged sister take legal action against me or my mother for not including her in the inscription Please help me
DOOGY - 16-Jun-19 @ 9:23 PM
My uncle passed away 4 years ago and his wife said she was going to get him a headstone but still hasn’t.I think he deserves to have one. Can you get one for him since she isn’t?
Cinda - 23-May-19 @ 7:12 PM
My mother died 4months ago, after having terrible experiences with the funeral director l decided to take him to court but found out my brother who lives in Jamaica was also dealing with the funeral director in dishonesty and became demanding and threatening, which forced me into not being able to take legal action. Now my mother lies in a family pot it was her wish to have a headstone that she left money for and paid for from her Scottish widow insurance but l cannot have it erected as my brother may we'll decide he does not like nor want the headstone l put on there, there was no will as my mother always had me look after her every need and was her only next of kin. All l want is to be able to put my mother and father's headstone on without the worry of my brother being malicious and telling the cemetery he doesn't want it on there otherwise l have to remove it at my cost after also paying a lawyer for me to state l will remove it.....plz help.
Marie - 17-May-19 @ 6:43 PM
My grandmother died 3 years ago, she is buried in a plot my adopted mom owns. She will not let any of my grandmothers family put a tombstone or flowers or anything. Is it yrue after 3 years my grandmother's family can infact put a tombstone for her even if my adopted mom doesn't want one. I live in Kentucky and I don't know what the laws are in burial and tombstones and I don't know where to look.
Stacy - 16-Apr-19 @ 6:58 PM
My sisters oldest daughter died 3 1/2 years ago. The service was awesome and her son in law buried her daughter without a headstone. When she asked about it he assured her that it would be done within a year. Needless to say he never put a headstone on the grave. My sister called the cemetery and asked if she could buy a headstone and have I put on her daughters grave. They told her the husband bought the plot so only he could do it. She repeatedly asked her son in law to allow her to buy the headstone so it could be placed on her beloved daughters grave. He would not have to pay anything and she would carry the entire cost. After years of asking he wont even respond. Is there anything she can do. I heard about grave abandonment. Is there such a thing.
missgrace - 27-Mar-19 @ 8:54 PM
My gran owned the grave but she died so her daughter my aunt had the deed passed to her she gave permission for a family member to be buried in the grave my aunt as since died and the deed did not get passed on but since then another person as bee buried in the grave and they have put up an headstone the lettering is that big you cannot see grans name so will I be allowed to have grans name put back at the top
Day - 19-Mar-19 @ 7:06 PM
My fiancee's younger brother died and the mother is in charge of everything even though her last words to the brother over 5y ago was "I dont ever wanna see you again". She has messed up the whole funeral and now he don't even have a stone as she refuse to put one up even though we will pay for it. Is there anything we can do? She hated her own child when he was alive and even after his death she is messing with him. It's not fair at all.
Ace - 20-Feb-19 @ 7:37 PM
Hi, We recently found out that my older sister is actually my half sister. Her father died when my mother was 5 months pregnant with her .Today she is 32 years old and after locating his grave we found that there is still no gravestone put up for him. We also found out that my Grandmother ( my mothers mother) is the owner of the grave deed. We contacted her and she refuses to give us permission to put up a gravestone for him. What can we do?
Yolandi - 5-Feb-19 @ 7:09 AM
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