Burial plot costs vary depending on location, type and size of plot required. In addition to the plot, there’s also the associated costs to consider like the interment fees and memorial headstone or plaque. Then of course there’s the process of finding a plot that suits your needs and budget.
The following information explains how to buy a burial plot in the UK and average costs so you can decide if it’s the right option for you.
Find out more about funeral costs
What is a burial plot?
A burial plot is a section of land in a cemetery or woodland burial site where a person is buried. It can accommodate individuals, couples or families however this will depend on the size of the plot.
Typically, you cannot buy a plot. Instead you buy the right to say who is buried there in a form of lease agreement known as the Exclusive Right of Burial.
What is Exclusive Right of Burial?
The Exclusive Right of Burial is the legal document that allows you to say who is buried in a plot. The rights last for a specified period, usually between 25 to 100 years. This means you are buying the right of burial for that period, not the actual plot.
Therefore, if you decide to purchase the Exclusive Right of Burial in advance, consider the age of younger family members who may not need the plot for some time.
What happens when the Exclusive Right of Burial runs out?
When the Exclusive Right of Burial ends, the burial site owner will usually give the family the option to renew the lease. If the lease isn’t renewed, the existing burials are left in place however any remaining space in the plot may be resold.
How do you buy a burial plot?
When you buy a burial plot, you first need to decide where you want it to be. Cemeteries are usually owned by the council, the church or privately. Arrangement to buy the plot can either be made directly with the owner, or with the help of a funeral director.
Council run cemeteries often have two rates, one for non-residents and a cheaper rate for local people. As for church cemeteries, all parishioners are entitled to be buried at their local church however in reality, this depends on space as plots are in short supply in most areas.
How much does a burial plot cost?
The average burial plot cost including the burial or interment fees as they are known is currently £1,986 but this varies hugely depending on location. For example, the cost of the burial plot alone can range from £500 to thousands of pounds if the cemetery is in London.
Consider how many people the plot is for as joint burial plots can save money in the long-term. Also, some of the growing number of natural woodland burial sites may offer a cheaper solution. Whilst you may not be able to have a headstone, some sites let you plant a tree or have a wooden plaque.
Find out more about the average cost of a burial plot
How much do memorial headstones for graves cost?
The average cost of a memorial headstone in the UK is currently £910, however this will depend on its size, shape, engraving and what it is made of. Before buying the headstone, check if the cemetery or churchyard have rules regarding what type of headstone and inscription they allow.
Then look around to see who offers the most appropriate and best priced option, be it one of the more traditional headstones or perhaps a grave plaque.
For new plots, the ground will need to settle before grave headstone can be put in place, usually for a period of at least 6 months. In this instance the family may want to consider a grave marker as an interim measure.
Should I consider buying a burial plot in advance?
Some councils and burial ground owners let you reserve and pay for your plot in advance. This will remove financial pressure from your family when the time comes however whether it will save you money in the long term will depend on how much they want to charge.
Cost aside you may feel that you want to buy a burial plot in advance to ensure there is space available for you and your loved ones. If this is the case, make sure you are happy with the term of the lease.
If you are looking to put plans in place for the future, you may also want to consider a prepaid burial funeral plan – as this could make things financially and emotionally easier for your family when the time comes.