What is exhumation?
An exhumation is when a deceased’s remains are removed from their burial site and moved elsewhere, this can be carried out for both buried and cremated remains
Why are bodies exhumed?
A deceased may be exhumed for a majority of reasons, through family choice, a police investigation, for DNA testing, to transport them to their home country, and more. To carry out an exhumation you will need to apply for one with an exhumation license, where you will be able to detail the reason you require the exhumation of a deceased.
For assistance writing an exhumation license application, contact us for free advice. Visit our exhumation license page for further information.
What are the legal requirements to exhume a body?
When exhuming a body, your application to exhume will be reviewed against these requirements, to ensure that it is a necessary and required procedure.
You will need to have consent from the owner of the burial grounds as well as all next of kin. If the procedure is going to be carried out in a public graveyard, where other remains may be buried and disturbed, the permission of the surviving relatives of those deceased are required also.
To repatriate exhumed remains you will be required to provide an exhumation license application, a letter from the airline or shipping company that would be transporting the remains confirming their role in the repatriation, and a letter from the cemetery that the deceased will be reinterred in.
An Environmental Health Officer must be present at the exhumation, to ensure the exhumation procedure is respectful and meets health and safety regulations.
An exhumation application should be given an average timescale of three months from the date of issue. Rowland Brothers Exhumations are able to offer our expertise in exhumation to help you write your application and include all the correct details.
What happens once my exhumation application is approved?
If you obtain all the licenses required, you will then need to pass them on to the burial authority where the deceased is buried. All parties will liaise to arrange the exhumation and organise what is required.