Dear Funeral Director,
The single most important factor to consider when arranging a grave to be re-opened for a full coffin burial or the burial of cremation ashes is the permission of the current registered owner of a grave. Without such consent a grave cannot be re-opened.
This consent must be in the form of a written authority if the person to be buried is beyond the immediate family (i.e. spouse or child) of the registered owner. So for burials of all brothers, sisters, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws of a registered owner, a written authority must be given by the owner to re-open a grave.
If there is no current registered owner of a grave, then a new one must be registered. Please refer to the Transfer of Grave Ownership page for the full background on how to register a new owner.
However due to time constraints when arranging a funeral, the use of a Derivative Assignment (DA) Declaration form is the most convenient method to register a new owner. To try and locate the will of the deceased registered owner (or that of the deceased spouse) will only result in delaying a funeral. Nevertheless it is still more preferable to transfer a grave ownership by way of a will. To download a DA form please refer to the Derivative Assigment Declaration explanation in the above transfer of grave ownership link.
Also be mindful of the future capacity of a grave when arranging a re-opening. Do any other members of a deceased family want to be interred in the same grave after the burial? Will there be space for them? If not, have they considered cremation? These are all important issues to consider.
Please note that when the kerbing of a grave is removed to facilitate a full coffin burial, it not replaced back until just before the first anniversary, 11-12 months later on. It is at the family's discretion to re-instate any concrete or chippings that may have been in place on the grave beforehand. The cemetery does not replace any such concrete or chippings.