Graves Trusts Inspections
The next triennial inspection of graves will be in 2022.
Grave Trusts are intended to fund the maintenance of nominated graves. In order to comply with trust law the normal provision is for the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF) to hold the capital on trust to pay the income to the PCC or incumbent concerned for the general maintenance of the church and churchyard so long as the specified graves are kept in good repair. The usual form of words is that if the graves are not in good repair the Board shall cease to pay over the income, and instead hold both income and capital for its general purposes. On occasion, the capital will pass to another charitable body.
A certificate completed once every three years is regarded as conclusive evidence of adequate maintenance of a trust grave, and the DBF therefore has a policy of triennial inspections by the archdeacons or their representatives. The basic standard of maintenance required under these trusts is that the grave space should be kept tidy and that the headstone or other monument should be kept clean and in good repair. Some trusts have additional requirements (for example that the lettering on the monuments should be recut from time to time).
During 2022 lists will be sent to churchwardens of parishes where we are aware of grave trusts, giving details of any special conditions. All graves relating to trusts will be inspected during summer 2022 during the Archdeacon’s / Rural Dean’s visit. It would be very helpful therefore if churchwardens:
- Know where the graves are
- Make sure that the graves are being kept tidy and maintained in accordance with any special conditions (this will allow the PCC to continue using trust income to look after the churchyard)
We are aware that some grave trusts have only small amounts of capital which generate very low annual income payments. It is now possible for PCCs to wind up such trusts and the named graves continue to be maintained along with the churchyard as a whole. Please email the Estates and Trusts Administrator for assistance with this.