Transfer of Burial Rights for Funerals in Ayrshire

West Kilbride Cemetery

We thought we would take the opportunity on our website to bring attention to the rules for transferring title deeds for North Ayrshire Council cemeteries. Not many people are aware of the rules for transferring burial plots that Bereavement Services of North Ayrshire Council have had in place since 2006 and it is advantageous to deal with the transfer of a plot before the time of need.

There are certain situations where a transfer of burial rights is not required.

If the title holder is the deceased or should the person to be interred be a direct next of kin to the lair holder (for example, spouse, son or daughter) nothing needs to be done. This actually accounts for most situations. However, this is not always the case and in those situations a transfer of the lair paper must take place in order that a living title holder can authorise the interment.

Right of Succession


The way a lair is transferred is based on a part of Scots law called the right of succession. However, when the lair holder has left a will this then supersedes the right of succession. Even though the burial plot may not be mentioned directly in the will, the residue of the estate and so the burial plot will go to the beneficiaries.

To give an example, your mother or father may have bought a lair and since passed away. Should you now find yourself in a situation where your own spouse has passed away you may well wish to bury him or her in the family plot. In this instance the deeds to the lair must be transferred to ensure that there is a living title holder to authorise the internment.

In another example, your father who has since passed on, may have been the registered lair holder. Again, you may wish to inter your spouse who is not a direct next of kin to your father.

As mentioned previously, if your father left a will the deeds transfer to the beneficiaries; with no will present, the rights of succession determine the new lair holder. In the event that your mother is still living, the lair would belong to her. Should your mother have died then the lair passes on to her children.

If there are a number of brothers and sisters in the family, all will be equally entitled to the burial rights to the lair.  Ownership to the burial rights can be put in multiple names, however, this means that all future burial or memorial work will require the signatures of all title holders, otherwise the work cannot go ahead.  For the sake of simplicity and expediancy, you may wish to consider a single title holder.

Statutory Declaration Act

Once you and your family have decided who will be named as lair holder, that information is written onto a form called a statutory declaration. Again, this is Scots Law; the Statutory Declaration Act has been in effect from 1835. This form must be signed in front of a JP (Justice of the Peace), notary public or local councillor, who will also sign the form as the witness. In addition, should there be parties renouncing their right to the plot, they will also have to sign a form of renunciation. This form accompanies the statutory declaration.

West Kilbride Cemetery

As mentioned earlier, it is crucial to deal with the transfer before the time of need. Although the council will accept forms or declarations via fax or email in lieu of original paperwork, there may still be problems getting appropriate signatures if family members reside in different area or countries. These rules apply not just to North Ayrshire but East Ayrshire also with South Ayrshire soon to follow.

Getting help with arrangements.

Our firm is well versed in dealing with the transfer process and we would encourage you to get in touch should you have an issue you wish looked in to. To transfer a lair, the council levies a charge of just £18. The only charge from Wiliam Wallace will be for sundry items such as travel, postage and telephone calls.

If you would like to speak to us about any aspect of this, please call us on 01294 822114 or get in touch using our contact page.