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What is a Burial Rights Holder?

When a loved one passes away, it can be a very difficult time, however, there are a range of tasks which fall to those close to the deceased to consider, including funerals arrangements and memorials. You may have heard people use the term 'burial rights holder' but what does this mean. Learn more about burial rights, and a burial rights holder below.

What are burial rights?

Burial rights are rights to a burial site that have been granted by Council to a particular person in a particular cemetery.

What is a burial rights holder?

A burial rights holder is the person (individual) who purchased a site at a cemetery. They are the person who signed the burial terms and conditions agreement at the time of purchase and are the lawful holder of the burial right (to inter human remains and/or ashes).

Burial right holders and applicants must comply with all rules and regulations which may apply to the operation of a cemetery. - Brisbane City Council

What is a burial rights holder authorised to do?

A burial rights holder is entitled to be buried in the site at that cemetery that they have purchased and authorise the burial of others in the site. Additionally, at some cemeteries a burial rights holder can provide written permission to make modifications to the burial site.

A burial rights holder is generally responsible for the cost of acquisition, installation, repairs and maintenance to any memorial and/or monument connected with the burial site. Memorial companies, such as MMS Memorials, can only take instructions from the burial rights holder when it comes to memorials.

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What happens when a burial rights holder passes away?

When a burial rights holder dies, the authority to authorise burials in the site moves to Council. Council will permit, in its absolute discretion, one of the following people to be buried in the site:

  • Spouse of the burial right holder.
  • Child of the burial right holder.
  • Partner of the burial right holder.
  • Relative of the burial right holder.
  • Direct descendant of the burial right holder.
  • Friend of the burial right holder.

This is only if there is no reason to believe the holder would have objected.

Can a burial right holder sell the burial right?

No, a burial right holder can not sell the burial right, nor is it transmissible by death. Council can however, at their discretion, allow the transfer of a burial right from one person to another - this may only occur once though, as transfers may only happen on one occasion.

What happens to burial rights that are not used?

What happens to burial rights for unused graves depends on the cemetery, however they are usually returned to Council. A portion of the price paid for the burial right may be returned, depending on how long the right has been held.

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If you require further assistance, give MMS Memorials a call on 07 3265 5433 and we can discuss your needs.


Brisbane City Council (Cemeteries and crematoria terms and conditions): https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/community-and-safety/community-support/funeral-planning-and-grave-search/terms-and-conditions