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The Rights to Obtain a Headstone?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 18 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Grave Cemetery Plot Gravestone Grave

Q.

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)

A.

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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Can a head be stored at a relations place until the time of the unveiling or does it have to be taken straight to the resting place of the deceased to be erected and covered untill a few days before the unveiling. Maori Tradition is this the right way.
Diane thompson - 18-Feb-17 @ 10:48 PM
Doz- Your Question:
I have chosen my late husbands headstone. I am wanting it to be erected on a saturday, as most of my family don't live in the area and that is the only day they can come.i was told by the company I am buying it from told me it illegal to erect a headstone on a saturday is those true

Our Response:
You should contact the offices/manager of the cemetery or churchyard in which your husband is buried to find out this. Interments and headstone erections are often performed during the week because of working hours more than anything else.
FacingBereavement - 16-Feb-17 @ 12:02 PM
Darla - Your Question:
My father passed away two years ago and my stepmother has not put a headstone on his grave. The cemetery is all family but for one person and you do not need to purchase a plot to be buried there. Can I purchase a headstone for his grave without being prosecuted by my stepmother?

Our Response:
If it's not a municipal cemetery the same rules may not apply...you will need to speak with the people who manage the cemetery.
FacingBereavement - 16-Feb-17 @ 10:11 AM
I have chosen my late husbands headstone. I am wanting it to be erected on a saturday, as most of my family don't live in the area and that is the only day they can come. .i was told by the company I am buying it from told me it illegal to erect a headstone on a saturday is those true
Doz - 15-Feb-17 @ 4:17 PM
My father passed away two years ago and my stepmother has not put a headstone on his grave. The cemetery is all family but for one person and you do not need to purchase a plot to be buried there. Can I purchase a headstone for his grave without being prosecuted by my stepmother?
Darla - 15-Feb-17 @ 12:40 AM
My grandmothers oldest son passed in 1988, my grandfather who was married to my grandmother at the time had deed to the double plot. My grandparents got divorced and grandfather remarried. When my grandfather passed his now widowed wife removed my uncle from the headstone to be spiteful to my grandmother. I believe there has to be a grey area here. Did she have rights to remove him from my grandfather's headstone even though he had been dead for 20 years prior?
Krys - 5-Feb-17 @ 11:58 AM
Looking for advice, my dad died 30 years ago, he and my mother were divorced and she remarried. He never had a funeral, well he had a paupers funeral and his ashes were discarded on a communal area. It's a long and complicated story, which is hard to explain as I don't understand it myself. All I'm wanting to know is, my mother has planted a tree memorial in the cemetery last year for my dad without telling me or my brother, she has done this to cause trouble not out of the goodness of her heart (with her second ex husband right next to it, even though he has a grave with his ashes in another cemetery) if we wanted to take these trees, or at least the plaques down then where do we stand and what's the best way to go about it? How do we find out about who owns the deeds?
OBG - 5-Feb-17 @ 1:38 AM
Can I get some advice please? If not can you tell me where I can go to get the advice I need? Thanks My uncle died 20 years ago and my grandmother who owns the deeds/plot etc has continually refused to erect a headstone. This has caused the family and my uncle's grown up children a considerable amount of distress. What can we do? We have tried talking to my grandmother but she won't change her mind. Surely she can't do this. Kay - 28-Jan-17 @ 12:09 PM
Kay - 31-Jan-17 @ 5:55 PM
Woo - Your Question:
My mum passed away in April and her husband has the deeds my sister was the executor but the deeds are in his. Name can we change this

Our Response:
If her husband is still alive then no, you cannot change the name without his consent.
FacingBereavement - 30-Jan-17 @ 10:46 AM
My mum passed away in April and her husband has the deeds my sister was the executor but the deeds are in his. Name can we change this
Woo - 29-Jan-17 @ 10:25 AM
My uncle died 20 years ago and my grandmother who owns the deeds/plot etc has continually refused to erect a headstone. This has caused the family and my uncle's grown up children a considerable amount of distress. What can we do? We have tried talking to my grandmother but she won't change her mind. Surely she can't do this.
Kay - 28-Jan-17 @ 12:09 PM
my sister dies and is in a grave with our grandparents and our dad. her son wants to change the head stone and only put her name on it. the grave is now full the grave papers have gone to the cemetery authorities so I don't know who owns the plot or who has the final say of what they can do, my other brothers and sisters want our grandparents and our dads name as well as our sisters on the head stone. what can we do
vivian - 21-Jan-17 @ 4:59 PM
Sis - Your Question:
My brother passed away 12 years ago and still has no headstone, he was very popular and church was heaving at the seems on the day of his funeral But. his wife started being off with us and won't put a headstone on and declared we can't do anything about it. she also made it a double plot so she can be buried with him.He has children from previous marriage, parents and siblings and friends all wanting headstone on and have tried to talk to her but nothing! Is there anything we can do, I would do anything just for a simple headstone. And so would everyone else

Our Response:
You could try legal action. As she is the deed holder, a court order might be the only way to put pressure on her to do anything.
FacingBereavement - 16-Jan-17 @ 12:02 PM
My brother passed away 12 years ago and still has no headstone, he was very popular and church was heaving at the seems on the day of his funeral But... his wife started being off with us and won't put a headstone on and declared we can't do anything about it.. she also made it a double plot so she can be buried with him. He has children from previous marriage, parents and siblings and friends all wanting headstone on and have tried to talk to her but nothing! Is there anything we can do, I would do anything just for a simple headstone. And so would everyone else
Sis - 15-Jan-17 @ 2:44 PM
McGregor- Your Question:
My Mother died and my brother made thearrangements before any of us could do anything. He has the grave deeds and they are in his name, however the funeral was paid from the deceased estate, everythingwas paid by the deceased.He will not let her family put up a headstoneand the flowers, planters etc he removes.WIs there anything we can do??

Our Response:
No, there's not much you can. It's common practice for the funeral expenses etc to come from the deceased's estate. The grave holder is the only one who can erect a headstone. He cannot remove flowers from the grave though.
FacingBereavement - 11-Jan-17 @ 10:39 AM
My Mother died and my brother made the arrangements before any of us could do anything.He has the grave deeds and they are in his name, however the funeral was paid from the deceased estate, everything was paid by the deceased. He will not let her family put up a headstone and the flowers, planters etc he removes. W Is there anything we can do??
McGregor - 10-Jan-17 @ 10:39 AM
My parents passed away 2013 i want to do my parents headstone but my name is not on the deed of grant..I don't know where my sister is but I really want to do their headstone..
Love - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:27 AM
Chey77 - Your Question:
My husband passed away in February 2016 his cousin set up a go fund me page to help raise money for his headstone. I went and ordered a headstone with his sister and mom there to assist me and we paid the go fund money on the headstone and it still left me with a big balance to pay off and in order to finish the headstone I would have to pay it in full for them to finish the order which it was a special order and they told us it would take several months to finish. I kept in contact with the owner who was taking care of it and explained I was off with medical problems and had to have surgery and wasn't able to drive at the moment and as soon as possible I would be in to pay it in full. Well my sister in law started calling and texting me about the headstone in may none stop and I told her I had surgery and wasn't able to drive at the moment and I had it taken care of and they said it would take several months to finish and set it when it was done. She went behind my back and went back to the company and ordered another headstone and they let her use the go fund money I had paid on the other headstone that I ordered and had a headstone made without my permission and had it placed on his grave without me knowing about it until I went to the cemetery to visit him. Is there anything I can do because I'm the owner of 2 plots and that wasn't the headstone I promised him? Only reason it would take longer for the headstone I ordered was because of the material that was being used it was made over seas and the one she ordered was made here. I'm so upset about it. I don't think it was right for the company or her to do this and not get a hold of me and make sure it was ok. How did they let her use the money that was already paid on his headstone for another headstone?

Our Response:
If you are the owner of the grave deeds, noone else can erect a memorial/headstone without your consent. Legally you are entitled get them to remove it.
FacingBereavement - 16-Dec-16 @ 11:37 AM
My husbandpassed away inFebruary2016 his cousinset up a go fund me page to help raise money for his headstone. I went and ordered a headstone with his sister and mom there to assist me and we paid the go fund money on the headstone and it still left me with a big balance to pay off and in order to finish theheadstone I wouldhave topay it in full for them to finish theorder which it was a special order and they told us it wouldtakeseveralmonths to finish. Ikept in contactwiththeowner who was takingcare of it and explained I was off with medicalproblems and had to have surgery and wasn'table todrive at the moment and as soonaspossible I wouldbein to pay it in full. Well my sister in law startedcalling and textingmeabouttheheadstonein may none stop and I told her I had surgery and wasn'tabletodrive at the moment and I had it taken care of and they said it wouldtakeseveralmonths to finish and set it when it was done. She went behindmy back and went back to the company and orderedanother headstone and they let her use the go fund moneyI had paid on the otherheadstone that I ordered and had a headstonemade withoutmy permission and had it placed on his grave without me knowingaboutituntilIwent to the cemetery to visit him. Is there anythingIcandobecauseI'm the owner of 2 plots and that wasn'ttheheadstoneI promised him? Onlyreasonit wouldtakelonger for the headstone I orderedwas becauseofthematerial that was being used it was made over seas and the one she ordered was made here. I'mso upsetabout it. I don'tthinkitwas right for the company or herto do this and not geta hold of me andmake sure it was ok. How did they let her use the moneythat was alreadypaid on his headstone for anotherheadstone?
Chey77 - 15-Dec-16 @ 1:55 PM
missu - Your Question:
My mum died in Feb and was scattered in a park can I still have a headstone in the grave yard

Our Response:
Some cemeteries have separate areas for memorials of those who've been cremated. You should ask at your local council's cemeteries office.
FacingBereavement - 1-Dec-16 @ 2:19 PM
My mum died in Feb and was scattered in a park can I still have a headstone in the grave yard
missu - 30-Nov-16 @ 8:02 PM
Kezs - Your Question:
Hello my baby daughter passed away a few months ago and we wanted to add her name to a headstone belonging to her grandad. If the deed is held by my mother in law and she agrees does her Ashes have to be there or can we keep them at home. Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
No you can keep the ashes wherever you want.
FacingBereavement - 17-Nov-16 @ 2:35 PM
Hello my baby daughter passedaway a few months ago and we wanted to add her name to a headstone belonging to her grandad. If the deed is held by my mother in law and she agrees does her Ashes have to be there or can we keep them at home.Thanks in advance.
Kezs - 16-Nov-16 @ 10:38 PM
Sharon - Your Question:
Hi, my brother past over a year ago now. And his partner at the time put his plaque up & did not include the family. can I change this plaque ?Regards Sharon

Our Response:
Do you mean the headstone Sharon?
FacingBereavement - 28-Oct-16 @ 12:19 PM
Hi, my brother past over a year ago now.And his partner at the time put his plaque up & did not include the family... can I change this plaque ? Regards Sharon
Sharon - 27-Oct-16 @ 2:18 AM
Courtney - Your Question:
My daughter died a few years ago when she was only 10 months old. She's buried in our family's private graveyard. I never put up a headstone because of the costs and the refusal of my ex (her father) to help. My grandmother has now offered to pay for the headstone. My ex is the reason for her death; he left her unattended in a car seat alone in a house while he was getting high outside and she strangled to death. Sorry the details but it helps you understand my point. Her last name was my ex's but in additon to that, his refusal to help with the funeral and him not paying child support for my oldest, I would to put my last name instead of his on her headstone. Is this something I can do?

Our Response:
If you own the deeds to the grave you can put whatever you like on the headstone.
FacingBereavement - 13-Oct-16 @ 11:04 AM
My daughter died a few years ago when she was only 10 months old. She's buried in our family's private graveyard. I never put up a headstone because of the costs and the refusal of my ex (her father) to help. My grandmother has now offered to pay for the headstone. My ex is the reason for her death; he left her unattended in a car seat alone in a house while he was getting high outside and she strangled to death. Sorry the details but it helps you understand my point. Her last name was my ex's but in additon to that, his refusal to help with the funeral and him not paying child support for my oldest, I would to put my last name instead of his on her headstone. Is this something I can do?
Courtney - 12-Oct-16 @ 11:19 AM
Sammie85 - Your Question:
My sister died a year before I was born my parents could not afford a headstone she is in an unmarked grave shared with others and the council own the plot is there anything I can do like put a cross or something on the grave so family know where it is and the ground keepers dont keep taking the potted plants we put up there as it is distressing my parents, me and other family members?

Our Response:
Contact the cemetery office and ask them what's allowed. They may have section for erecting a memorial stone etc.
FacingBereavement - 11-Oct-16 @ 12:06 PM
My sister died a year before i was born my parents could not afford a headstone she is in an unmarked grave shared with others and the council own the plot is there anything i can do like put a cross or something on the grave so family know where it is and the ground keepers dont keep taking the potted plants we put up there as it is distressing my parents, me and other family members?
Sammie85 - 10-Oct-16 @ 9:38 AM
Fochey - Your Question:
Hi, I'm just wondering if my dad can get buried with his nephew?

Our Response:
This will depend on who holds the title deeds of your nephew's grave and whether that person is in agreement.
FacingBereavement - 5-Oct-16 @ 9:43 AM
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