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Legal claims over family burial plots

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  • Legal claims over family burial plots

    Hi there, would appreciate some advice on the following.

    A few years ago, my mother passed away. She didn't leave a will, despite always talking about what she wanted to happen to her estate - an outcome which eventually happened anyway via probate. She was divorced but lived with a partner, they weren't married and he had no claim over her finances or house, so her pension and life insurance policies were paid out to myself and my sister, and the house was transferred into our names with the partner being allowed to continue living there rent and mortgage free until his own death.

    Despite the verdicts by the various stakeholders, her partner still tried to take us both to court over the money and property, but as there was no marriage, as the stakeholders in charge of the pensions and insurance had already refused him, and as he could not demonstrate any financial involvement in the house, it amounted to nothing apart from his right to continue living there.

    These were all very modest sums - my sister and I have mortgages and no substantial savings other than the money left to us, and my mother wanted to leave something to her grandchildren, and the partner lives rent and mortgage free, and has sizeable savings left to him by his own parents, so in my opinion the outcome is very fair.

    The matter has been settled now for years, but we don't have a relationship at all with the partner, as it was a very stressful time.

    We arranged a plot in my sister's name to place my mother's ashes, with a memorial plaque.

    Recently, my father passed away. We have considered placing his ashes with my mother as a plot where we can celebrate our parents, and the grandchildren can celebrate their grandparents. The wording, as my parents were divorced, would not be that they were a loving couple to each other, more than they were loving parents and grandparents.

    I anticipate some kind of challenge from the partner if this happened - but it's not his plot, he's never expressed an interest to be buried there himself, just from my experience last time I understand he will instigate something if he believes there could be financial benefit.

    Should I be worried or is there no grounding here? Just with cost of living currently, I don't want to end up paying any legal fees if I can help it, as my own mortgage payments are increasing a lot.

    Any thoughts welcome.




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  • #2
    When my father died, my mother bought a plot for 4, in case my brother and I also wanted to go in there. Many years later my mother married & died 8 years later. I did not want the new husband to go in with my father, and he had also ripped up her will that she had written. At the time he would not give me the deeds to the grave, said they were his. So years later I found out he had died, his daughter had him cremated, she couldn't stand him either! So after his death, I applied to the local council to have the deeds to the grave put in my name, it wasn't very much, but as the owner I have the right to use it or say who goes in there, as I am her only living relative now. Do you own the deeds ? I think it cost 50 to have my details notarized at a solicitors.

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    • #3
      I don't know if there is any specific law on this but I'd be very surprised if there was any way he could interfere with you doing this. The money you are using to buy the burial plot dosn't come from the Estate, because as you say, that was all resolved a few years ago and your mother's money was passed to her beneficiaries - ie you and your sister.

      It's you and your sister's money and you can choose to spend it on anything you want, it's nothing to do with your late mother's partner. And how would he even know? Presumably you won't be telling him! It sounds like he never actually goes to the burial plot..

      I assume that as you and your sister bought the burial plot the two of you are the registered owners with the burial authority. That means that only you can decide who is buried there. Your mother's partner has no rights in the matter at all.

      Your proposed wording sounds just right to me.
      Last edited by PallasAthena; 6th July 2023, 10:59:AM.
      All opinions expressed are based on my personal experience. I am not a lawyer and do not hold any legal qualifications.

      Comment

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