What is a 'right of interment'?
When you purchase a grave or cremation memorial, what you are purchasing is a right of interment, which is the right to use that particular cemetery plot for a burial, or for the interment of cremated remains.
The right of interment is defined under the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 (Vic) (the Act). It does not confer ownership (proprietary rights) over the physical land. Rather, it grants permission to use the plot, subject to any cemetery trust policies or specifications.
The right of interment holder is the person who can authorise a burial or interment of cremated remains, as well as the establishment of a memorial such as a headstone or plaque.
Who owns the right of interment?
When you purchase a grave or cremated remains memorial, you will receive a certificate of entitlement which records the details of the plot and the owner of the right of interment for that plot. This is usually the purchaser, or someone nominated by the purchaser.
A right of interment may be held in joint names, and may be transferred from one party to another on completion of the relevant paperwork and payment of the relevant fee.
For older graves, where the original right of interment holder has passed away, it can be challenging to determine who holds the right to authorise a burial or interment of cremated remains, or the establishment of a memorial. Every case is unique, and we can help guide you through the process of determining who holds the right. Contact us for more information.
How long does a right of interment last?
Once you have purchased a grave, your right of interment is granted in perpetuity. This means the grave will remain undisturbed for the lifetime of the cemetery.
If a grave has not been used after 25 years and we cannot contact you after making diligent enquiries, we may need to reclaim the specific plot to meet the needs of the community. In the unlikely event this occurs, your right of interment will be preserved, but may be transferred to a different grave.
A right of interment for a cremation memorial can be purchased for a limited period of 25 years, or in perpetuity.
If you choose a 25 year memorial, you will have the option to renew the memorial at the end of that period, or to have the ashes scattered in the cemetery grounds. If we cannot reach you after making diligent enquiries at the end of the 25 year period, we may scatter the ashes on your behalf in accordance with a carefully regulated process under the Act.
For this reason it is very important for right of interment holders to keep their address details up to date.
Updating your address
One of the key obligations of the holder of the right of interment is to promptly advise GMCT of any change to their contact details so that we can maintain accurate and up-to-date records. We will require verification of your change of address (e.g. Updated driver's licence).
To update your address, contact us.
Rights and obligations
There are numerous rights and obligations that are conferred upon a right of interment holder under the Act, including:
the right to authorise the interment of human remains in the place of interment
the right to decide if a monument or memorial may be erected on the site
the obligation to maintain the monument if any is erected on the site
the right to object to or endorse an application to exhume remains from the site
the right to transfer or bequeath the right of interment to another party