A reader asks our legal expert about his rights to be buried next to his partner.


Dear TheGayUK

I want to be buried next to my partner, but his family won’t allow it. A few months ago, my partner of 14 years died in a car accident. Although his family and I always got on really well, his death has really driven a wedge between us. I mentioned at his burial that I wanted to be buried with him when I die in the same plot. Two days later, I got a letter from his family which said under no circumstances would they allow me to be buried with my partner. We weren’t married, but we did own a house together and the mortgage was paid off a while ago. Is there anything legally I can do to ensure that I can be buried next to my partner.

MB London



Dear MB

I am sorry to hear of your Partner’s death, these situations are never easy particularly when disputes arise within the family as a result.

I would contact your local Council office and ask to speak to their Bereavement department. You can make enquiries as to the possibility of purchasing the Grave Deeds for the plot next to your Partner if the cemetery is Council owned. While this does not afford you the legal ownership of the land itself, it does give you the right to be buried there and for your family to erect a memorial. It may be a question of moving fast to try and secure the plot as your Partner’s family may try to purchase the same as a preventative measure.

If you do not already have a Will in place which stipulates your funeral wises, I would advise that you speak to a Solicitor regarding the preparation of the same. In the Will you would be able to alert your Executors to the fact that you have purchased the plot and wish to be buried there. While your funeral wishes are just that, wishes, and you Executors are not bound by them (as with the rest of the contents of the Will), it will ensure that these are taken into account as even having purchased the Grave Deeds and acquiring the right to be buried there, in reality it may not be possible for a number of reasons which it would be impractical for me to go into in this brief response.

This response is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. Individuals should always seek legal advice from a professional which is specific to their unique set of circumstances.


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You can find out more about Matt at http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/matt-parr/37/373/135

About the author: Matt Parr

Matt works with individuals and their families to help them negotiate the many pitfalls they can encounter when planning for their future by providing pragmatic, bespoke advice. Being a member of the LGBTQ community himself, Matt is particularly keen to ensure that he offers an open door for those within the community wishing to obtain advice without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Matt advises his clients on tax-efficient estate planning options which could include the preparation of wills, trusts, deeds of gift and deeds of variation. As well as administering estates and preparing lasting powers of attorney. Furthermore, Matt also works with organisations wishing to become charities or alter their organisation’s structure.

- Fully qualified member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

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- Currently undertaking a diploma to obtain the Advanced Certificate in will preparation

- Accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly

- Dementia Friend

and works for Shakespeare Martineau