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Scottish Funerals

Following the death of someone close

When a death occurs most people are unsure what is required of them and what their first steps should be. The following information is given as a guide. Procedures may vary slightly and if this is the case your Funeral Director will advise you accordingly.

Deaths taking place at home or in a nursing home

When someone dies at home or in a nursing home the first contact should be with the person's doctor who would normally call at the place of death, and if satisfied with the cause of death will issue a Medical Certificate of Death. You may be asked to call to collect this from the surgery. After the doctor has attended you should contact your Funeral Director to inform him accordingly.

Deaths in hospital

If a death occurs in hospital you will be seen by either the nursing staff or in some cases a Bereavement Officer. They will have arranged for a doctor to issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. You should if you are aware, tell the hospital if cremation is to be the type of funeral required. This will allow additional documentation to be completed. You should then contact your Funeral Director to inform him accordingly.

When you contact the funeral director

The Funeral Director or the receptionist will ask for:-

(I) Your name address and telephone number.
(II) Your relationship to the deceased.
(III) The full name of the deceased and the place of death.
(IV) The name of the doctor if the death occurs at home or in a nursing home.

You will then he asked if you know if the funeral is to be burial or cremation. A suitable appointment will then be made for either the funeral director to meet you in your home or at the funeral home.

The Procurator Fiscal

In some cases the death may be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. There are a number of reasons why this might happen, and this should not be a cause for concern. In such circumstances the documentation and procedures are somewhat different. Please remember that the Procurator Fiscal and his officers are working in your interest. Contact your Funeral Director as soon as possible who will be able to advise you on any matter relating to work of the coroner.

Arranging the funeral

The person arranging the funeral must be authorised to do so. This person would normally be the nearest surviving relative or appointed executor.

Your Funeral Director will, during the arrangement of the funeral, give information to you and receive information from you with regard to all our requirements.

Your Funeral Director will require details of the person who has died including their name, age, address, religion, place of death and doctor's name. The Funeral Director will also need to know who has issued the Medical Cause of Death and whether the funeral will be burial or cremation. In the case of burial, you will be asked whether there is an existing grave, or if a new grave is required and in which cemetery.

In the case of cremation, discussions will take place regarding the choice of crematorium and the final resting place of the cremated remains.

The Funeral Director will also discuss matters relating to the selection of clergy, place of service, point from which the funeral will start, press notices, flowers and catering.

A decision will be required as to the style of the coffin or casket. The funeral director will have a brochure available to assist in the selection.

Coffin selection

All coffins and caskets are produced by skilled craftsmen. Each is finished to the highest standard and individually inspected prior to being delivered. Your selection may be influenced by religion or local customs. Your Funeral Director is experienced in these and is well qualified to advise you accordingly.

Floral tributes

Many people wish to express their feelings with flowers. Your Funeral Director can arrange the provision of floral tributes to your specific requirements made by expert florists. Other members of the family may also wish to arrange flowers at the same time and have the cost added to the funeral account.

Following the funeral you may request your Funeral Director to take some of the floral tributes to a destination of your choice so that they may be appreciated by others.

Press notices

Most wish to inform many other friends and relations of the death and funeral arrangements. One way in which this can be organised is to place a notice in the newspaper. This together with any acknowledgements after the funeral can be arranged on your behalf by your Funeral Director.

Registration of the death

The nearest surviving relative or executor will be required to attend the registrars office to formally register the death. The person who attends will be required to take the Medical Certificate of Death, the deceased's medical card and the full details of the deceased and their spouse (if appropriate). Copies of the death certificate will be required by insurance companies, banks etc. The registrar will advise you on these matters.

Funeral cost

The final invoice will be made up of two parts:

(I) The charges for the goods and services supplied by the Funeral Service and its professional management.

(II) The fees paid by the Funeral Director on your behalf to outside organisations such as cemetery, crematorium, doctor, minister, church, florist, caterer and newspapers. You will be given a written estimate of all these charges in advance of the funeral. If you are unsure of any of the items please do not hesitate to ask your Funeral Director to explain.

Paying for the funeral

Accounts are sent out approximately two weeks after the funeral.

Help with the cost of the funeral from the Social Fund or other agency

If you think you will be unable to meet the cost of the funeral, you should discuss it with your Funeral Director as soon as possible. You may be eligible for help from the Social Fund, or depending on where the death took place, from other agencies.

Your Funeral Director will be able to give information on making a claim from this Fund but will he unable to confirm whether you are entitled to assistance or to what value.

Wills and probate

A will is a legal document which sets out how the deceased's estate should be dealt with and takes effect on death. Most wills are quite simple. Some however can be more complex. Whichever is the case you would be best advised to seek advice from a solicitor who deals in the administration of estates. The same can be said if there is no will and the deceased has died "'intestate" (died not having made a will).


A wide choice of memorials are available to those who wish to erect a lasting tribute in memory of their loved ones.

The funeral process

The body of the deceased is normally held at the funeral home or chapel where relatives and close friends will meet on the day of the funeral to hold a short service.  It may be that if a crematorium funeral is taking place the service will be held at the crematorium instead. The coffin is then loaded onto the hearse and the attendants will follow it to the place of burial.  Usually relatives will have a hire car available to them but others will attend in their own cars.  Where there is a burial there will normally be a separate short service at the grave side. After the funeral it is normal (but not required) that refreshments are laid on either at an hotel or at the deceased's home or other place.