What is a 'right of interment'?
When you purchase a grave or cremation memorial, what you purchase is called a right of interment. The right of interment belongs to the person named in the paperwork you submit at the time of purchase. It is the right to use that 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 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. The owner of the right of interment is not necessarily the purchaser of the plot. Whoever is nominated as the right holder in the certificate of entitlement will be the owner of the right.
A right of interment may be held by more than one person, in joint names, and may be transferred from one person to another.
For older graves, if 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.
What happens when more than one person holds the right?
When two or more people hold the right of interment jointly, all holders must agree and jointly sign any application for a burial, interment of ashes or to establish or alter a memorial on the plot.
If you hold a right of interment jointly with another person and cannot find them, you need to provide evidence that you have made diligent enquiries to find them before you can apply to update the right of interment, inter remains, or alter or establish a memorial.
Diligent enquiries include:
attempting to contact rights holders with contact details on record
searching via the White Pages directory
placing an advertisement in a local newspaper or other prominent local publication.
How long does a right of interment last?
Once you have purchased a grave, your right of interment is granted in perpetuity. This means forever.
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 of a comparable or higher value.
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 and contact details up to date.
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.
Updating your address
If you hold a right of interment at one of our cemeteries, please notify GMCT of any change to your 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 or contact details, use the form linked below:
Transferring or adding a right holder
You can apply to transfer or add a right holder with these forms:
If you need advice or assistance of any kind, contact our Customer Care team at 1300 022 298 or using this form.