The Difference Between a Graveyard and a Cemetery

What’s the Difference Between a Graveyard and a Cemetery?

Some people think graveyard and cemetery mean the same, but a graveyard is a type of cemetery, and a cemetery is usually not a graveyard. Although the words graveyard and cemetery are often used in the same context in everyday speech, there is a subtle difference between the two terms.

To understand the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery, we need to go back in time. From about the 7th century onwards, the process of burial was very much the responsibility of the Church, and burying the dead was only permitted on land near a church, which was known as the churchyard. The part of the churchyard used for burial was called the graveyard, as it was quite literally a yard with graves in it.

A Typical English Graveyard

As the population of Europe grew, the capacity of graveyards was reached and by the beginning of the 19th century, the unsustainability of church burials had become apparent, so completely new places for burying people, independent of the graveyards, appeared, and these were called cemeteries.

Where did the word cemetery come from? It actually comes from the old French word cimetiere, which translates oddly enough as graveyard. The French word originally comes from the Greek word koimeterion, which means “a sleeping place”.

A Typical English Cemetery
A Typical English Cemetery

So, broadly speaking, graveyards are on land owned by the church, and are typically attached to a church or a chapel. The Christian Church would usually stipulate that only Christians could be buried within the grounds and local nobles and the wealthy were sometimes buried in crypts beneath the church itself. Cemeteries, on the other hand are generally run by private companies or the council and are normally open to all faiths and have more relaxed rules regarding headstones.

Another subtle difference between a graveyard and a cemetery is that people’s bodies are buried in graveyards; whereas in a cemetery, it is possible to bury an individual’s ashes as well.

Cremation Jewellery

There are a number of companies that can turn the ashes of a loved one into stunning bespoke jewellery.

Cremation jewellery, ashes to jewellery, remembrance jewellery and memorial jewellery are some of the terms used by specialist creative workshops that create treasured handmade memorial jewellery from just a spoonful of cremation ashes.

Memorial Jewellery
Memorial Jewellery

This unique jewellery can serve as an eternal memory, enabling those left behind to keep their loved one close to them. Pieces are custom made and the range includes bracelets, charms, cufflinks, earrings, pendants, rings and bespoke jewellery items.

Cremation jewellery aka memorial jewellery can be a wonderful way to feel close to a loved one again, and it can be comforting for those left behind to be able to have a beautiful piece of jewellery as a wonderful memento that they can take with them wherever they go.

Memorial Pendant

There is a wide range of cremation jewellery that can be chosen and all are by their very nature unique. All of the cremation jewellery is specially designed and gives people the chance to enclose their loved one’s ashes into jewellery which they can keep with them forever. Ashes based jewellery instantly becomes an heirloom that can be passed from generation to generation.

Cremation Charm

Cremation jewellery is typically hand-crafted by specialist workshops as the ashes, coloured glass crystals and molten glass are skillfully layered together using a mix of traditional and modern techniques to create unique pieces, each with their own character and style. Multiple layers give the stone dimension and depth, and once cooled, it is expertly cut, polished and toughened before being set to create timeless and beautiful jewellery that can be cherished and passed down through the generations.

Surprisingly these specialists only need a teaspoon sized amount of a loved one’s cremation ashes to make some dramatic, striking jewellery. By incorporating a small amount of cremation ashes into a piece of hand blown or fused glass, these artisans can create jewellery and keepsakes that can be forever treasured.

Remembrance Ring

Some of the artisans who create these unique bespoke cremation jewellery items are:-

The Society of Will Writers

The Society of Will Writers

The Society of Will Writers is a non-profit making self regulatory organisation which promotes to the public the real need in having a valid Will; and serves Will writing practitioners through stringent membership requirements, proficiency standards and on-going training.

The Society of Will Writers was established in 1994 as an independent body representing the professional Will writer and the interests of the consumer. Today, the Society is the largest Will writing trade body and has many members.


Why should you use a Society of Will Writers member?

  • All members hold professional indemnity insurance with a minimum cover of £2 million.
  • All members adhere to a complaints procedure.
  • All members are entitled to technical support to ensure they offer the best service to their clients.
  • All members need to pass a stringent application process, and pass an examination.
  • All members are bound by The Society’s code of conduct.
  • All members continue to train on a yearly basis.

It is important to note that Society of Will Writers members are will writing specialists who deal almost exclusively with one area of law – succession planning; and as such, are best placed to offer specialist advice.

There are many Will writing individuals and Will writing companies, but it is vital to choose one that is competent, professional and has the appropriate expertise and experience. All Society of Will Writers members go through a stringent vetting procedure and continuing training to ensure that they are able to write Wills properly.

The will writing industry is unregulated, so anyone can call themselves a will writer. However only a properly trained professional can ensure that your Will will be correctly drafted. If you are shopping around for a Will, it is something you need to consider, and you should ask yourself why risk your entire estate by having a Will drawn up by anyone other than a trained professional.

Here at Quick Will, we are proud to be full members of the Society of Will Writers and naturally we fully comply with all membership requirements.

Maybe now is the time to call upon this expertise and create a Will knowing you are in safe hands with a full member of the Society of Will Writers.

Over a million people overcharged for Power of Attorneys

Over a million people have been overcharged for registering Power of Attorneys in the last few years.

If you paid to register a Power of Attorney in England or Wales between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017, then you are entitled to a refund of up to £54 as you were quite simply overcharged.

There is an application fee to register a Power of Attorney, which is set by the Ministry of Justice and paid to the Office of the Public Guardian. Between 2013 and 2017, the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian decreased, but the Power of Attorney application fee stayed the same for four whole years! As the fee is supposed to cover just the operating costs, the Government will now repay the difference between what applicants paid and what they should have paid, plus a small amount of interest; but only if they apply for the refund – the refund will not happen automatically.

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that 1.7 million applications are affected. It’s not clear exactly how many people are owed a refund, as many people will have registered both types of Power of Attorney, but it is certain that over a million people are affected, and are due a refund, and with the average refund of £40, there is over £40 million waiting to be refunded.

Lasting Power Of Attorney Overcharge Scandal

You can make your own judgement as to the lack of efficiency here, and take your own view on the scandal of over one million people being overcharged, and why they are not being automatically refunded.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which allows you, while you still have the mental capacity to do so, to nominate a trusted friend or relative to look after your affairs if or when you lose your mental capacity. There are two types of Power of Attorney, one for health and welfare, and one for property and financial affairs. Some people will have registered both types of Power of Attorney and so can thus claim a refund of up to £108.

How much you can reclaim depends on when you paid for the Power of Attorneys which is calculated on a sliding scale for all applications from April 2013 to March 2017.

You can make a claim if you were the person who made the Power of Attorney or you are the person appointed in the LPA; with the refund being paid to the person who made the LPA. You can claim a refund even if the Power of Attorney has been used.

You can claim a refund online via the website, or by phoning the Office of the Public Guardian’s helpline on 0300 456 0300. You don’t need the Power of Attorney document itself, but you will need the person’s name, address, date of birth, bank account number and sort code and the name of one of the people mentioned on the LPA.

Jenny Chase, wills specialist at Quick Will comments “If you did register an LPA during the period April 2013 to March 2017, we would hope that if you used a solicitor, a will writer or another organisation to help you complete the forms (for a fee) that they have been in touch with you to let you know you are entitled to a refund. If they haven’t been in touch, perhaps you should consider whether they have your best interests at heart, and whether you should use them for anything else in the future.”

Either way, do apply for a refund – you are entitled to it.

Step Children And Your Will

Step-Children and Your Will

Jenny Chase, will writer at Quick Will looks at the considerations you need to make for stepchildren when making a will and answers the thorny question will your stepchildren get any of your estate when you die?

English Law states that, for inheritance purposes, the definition of “children” is different from “step-children”. In essence, unless you’ve adopted them, your step-children have no legal right to an inheritance from you; whether you die with or without a Will. So, if you want to leave your step-children any part of your estate at all, you are going to need to name them in your Will.

Step-children are the children of your partner or spouse, that you haven’t adopted. If you have adopted them, they are legally your children, with the same legal connections to you as children born to you, what are known as biological children.

There is no law that requires you to leave any part of your estate to any of your children or step-children and there is no legal tie between you and your step-children. In effect, your legal relationship to your step-children is equivalent to someone with no familial relation. So in terms of Will making, you have no obligation to leave anything to your step-children.

It Is Easy To Exclude Your Step Child

How to Exclude Your Step-Child

You don’t need to do anything to make sure that your step-child gets nothing through your Will. If you don’t use your Will to leave anything to him or her, then he or she will get nothing.

However, be aware that your step-child could end up with some of your estate via your spouse or partner. If you are married or partnered to your step-child’s parent, you will probably leave a large portion of your estate to your spouse or partner. After your death, your spouse or partner inherits your estate and they will then be free to give whatever they want from the proceeds of your estate to any step-child. In this way, your step child could end up with the proceeds from your Will that you leave to your spouse or partner. This scenario also holds true if you’re married and don’t have a Will, as under the laws of intestacy everything that you own will go to your spouse and children and they are then able to give whatever they wish to your step-child.

How To Ensure Your Step-Children Receive An Inheritance

A stepchild will not automatically inherit from your estate unless they have been legally adopted by you. If you wish to pass on money or other assets to them, then you will need to make a Will to do so. Using your Will, you can leave your step-children a percentage of your entire estate, or you can leave specific gifts, like furniture, jewellery, cars, computers and so on.

In addition to your Will, you can also leave gifts to your step-child using a number of other estate planning tools such as a living trust whereby you can name your step-child as a beneficiary of the trust. Additionally, if you have a life insurance policy you can name your step-child as a beneficiary of the policy.

stepchildren and wills
Stepchildren Can Be Left Out Intentionally and Unintentionally

Leaving an Explanation

When families blend together, family relationships can become complicated and strained, especially when it comes to who gets what after someone dies. If possible, talk to each member of your family to explain your plans and your reasoning about the decisions you make in your Will, trust or general estate plan. This is your best chance of creating peace because you will be available to answer any questions they may have.

However, if talking it over is not possible, or just not your style, you can leave a letter to your survivors explaining your decisions. The letter won’t have any legal weight, but it can be a comfort to those you leave behind. In it you can explain why you gave what to whom. Leave your letter with your other estate planning documents.

Inheritance and stepfamilies

If, as is very common, someone dies without making a Will, that person’s assets are distributed according to the laws of intestacy. These are strict rules that require the assets to go to the dead person’s spouse, children, parents, siblings etc.

It is important to understand that the intestacy rules do not cover stepfamilies unless the parent who died had formally adopted the stepchild. If you and your partner are married that means that you can each inherit a certain amount from each other under the intestacy rules, but that does not include your stepchildren. Only a spouse, a blood relative, or an adopted child can inherit automatically from someone who died without leaving a Will.

It is possible to challenge the effect of the intestacy, but again only people within certain categories of relationship to the person who died are entitled to do this.

Can stepchildren challenge a will?

The basic principle in England and Wales is that each individual is free to make a Will that leaves their assets as they choose. Only people within certain categories of relationship to the person who died are entitled to challenge the Will.

If a stepchild was treated as a child of the family by a married step-parent or was financially dependent on a step-parent who has died, and there is either no or inadequate financial provision on the death of the step parent, he or she can make an application to the court under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 on the basis that “reasonable financial provision” has not been made for them.

It is worth remembering that court proceedings can of course be very stressful and costly and the whole process may damage family relations. Step-children of an unmarried couple can only make a claim on the basis of financial dependency. If the challenge is successful, the amount the stepchild is likely to be awarded by the court will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the estate, the age of the stepchild, his or her needs, the level of the dependency etc.

The Legal Difference between Children and Stepchildren

From a legal standpoint, stepchildren have no rights to their stepparents’ estate, unless they’ve been specifically mentioned in the Will. The rules of intestacy make no provision for step-children even where there are no surviving relatives, so if you want to provide for your step-children you should make a Will. Unlike natural and adopted children, who have automatic rights to inheritances unless specified otherwise, stepchildren need to be cited by name in order to be included in someone’s Will.

Here at Quick Will, our Wills do not use terms like descendants or heirs to refer to children or to step-children, as these terms are not only subject to confusion, they are additionally complicated for blended families with step-children. Instead, we insist that each step-child is named using their individual names.

If you are living in a stepfamily, it is therefore vital that you make a Will that ensures that on your death your assets go to the people who are important to you and that the wording of the Will does not cause any difficulties after your death. Here at Quick Will we recommend you protect every member of your family and make a Will now.