Exhumation Services with Renowned Professionalism

If you are considering an exhumation, but are unsure about the details, and what is required in order to carry out this procedure, use our exhumation guide for advice and information.

The exhumation guide will help explain:

  • What is an exhumation
  • Why an exhumation may be required
  • What permissions may be required for an exhumation and who grants them
  • What the legal requirements are for an exhumation
  • What happens once permission for an exhumation is accepted
  • What is included in a exhumation procedure

If we haven’t answered your question here, contact us for advice and support.

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. However, the procedure can also be carried out to extend a grave or to have the deceased cremated. Exhumation isn’t a common procedure and it is a legal requirement to receive the necessary lawful permissions before an exhumation service can be carried out.

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.

What is the procedure for exhumation?

A variety of people, including authorised officers, cemetery authorities and funeral directors are involved at different stages of exhumation procedures.

  • There will be a site evaluation
  • All legal notices will be submitted
  • Health and Safety representatives and Environmental Officers will be contacted to be present at the exhumation
  • The exhumation will take place in the early morning (to ensure privacy)
  • The site will be screened (security can be provided for privacy)
  • Archaeological supervision will be provided to ensure the deceased is exhumed technically and respectfully
  • All human remains and pieces of the original coffin will be placed in the new coffin and casket
  • The new coffin will then be sealed and identified
  • The area of exhumation will be disinfected
  • A certificate of clearance will be provided

You will be required to make arrangements for the transportation or repatriation of the deceased prior to the exhumation, with which Rowland Brothers Exhumation Services can assist.

For further information on exhumation and the service we offer, as well as advice and exhumation application assistance, contact us.