Choosing a plot
Although you might want to choose a burial plot well in advance of it being needed, the lack of space is making this a difficult option in many areas.
Many church graveyards are now full. And such is the pressure on space where it is available that the vicar is only likely to enable you to book in advance if you or your family attend the church regularly.
There are some exceptions, so make inquiries to the church where earlier generations of your family have been buried.
And as it’s due to lack of space, you are more likely to be able to book if you want a small space for the interment of your ashes (or those of a loved one) than the space for the coffin and headstone.
Many local councils, particularly those in densely populated urban areas are having trouble providing spaces for their deceased residents. So it is a good idea to book a plot now so it is there when the time comes.
The usual choice, and the one most likely to be suggested by the funeral director, is the nearest local authority cemetery. This is the cheapest option because it takes less time and fuel to get there.
To book ahead, contact your local authority's cemetery section.
If you want to be buried, or bury your loved one, in a council cemetery in another area, contact the cemetery section of the local authority responsible for that location. The cost for non-residents is likely to be higher as a way of discouraging people from outside the borough taking valuable space.
You will not be able to buy the plot outright. Instead you get a Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial for a certain number of years (usually between 25 and 100 years). You will then be the only person able to bury in that plot for the number of years you have purchased. You can usually renew the Grant if required.
A plot for the family
If you want the plot to be big enough to other members of your family to be buried close to each other, you can purchasing multiple plots to gift them the Exclusive Rights. Different local authorities have different rules and prices.
You will normally have to provide a name for each plot, so decide which members of the family you wish to be interred in the family plot.
Pre-paid funeral plans
One of the many advantages of having a pre-paid funeral plan is that the funeral director who will supply the funeral will have paid for the plot in the cemetery or cremetorium you choose.
Part of the purchase of the pre-paid plan is a detailed discussion with the appropriate local funeral director of all the choices available which enables them to cost the plan which you then pay for at the current price rather than the increased cost of when the funeral takes place.
There is far more space available in the increasing number of woodland burial and natural burial sites around the UK. The Natural Death Handbook published by the Natural Death Centre has a list of these sites. Companies running woodland burial sites have websites giving locations and other details.
Woodland burials are the most environmentally friendly funerals, or ’green’ funerals.
Most of these sites will allow you to book space for yourself and members of your family to be close together, though this will be an expensive option.
If you buy a plot, by purchasing a Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial or from a woodland burial company, ensure your next of kin or executor knows.
A good way of doing this is to put the information in your Lifebox, which is a secure area within mylastsong.com. When your death is confirmed, the second keyholder - we recommend you nominate your executor - be told to open your Lifebox, access your funeral instructions and act on them.