Funeral FAQs

Registering The Death

Deaths must be registered in Scotland within eight days of death, ideally as soon as possible. Most local registration offices run appointment systems. Just phone us and we will make the appointment on your behalf.

You will need to take with you:

  • Death Certificate , this is called the Form 11.
  • Any documentation relating to any social fund payments received including state pensions
  • NHS medical card, if available
  • Birth Certificate and the Marriage Certificate, if applicable

The Registrar will keep the death certificate, but on payment of the appropriate fee, will supply copy extracts of the death certificate, to enable you to redeem bank accounts, Building Society, pensions, insurances etc. Most institutions will only accept an original copy extract, but if you can physically walk into somewhere, like the deceased’s bank, they will usually accept their own photocopy of the original extract, leaving you with the extract to use again.

The registrar will give you all of the forms in a handy folder. The best thing to do is bring all of the documents to us, we will take the forms that we require and advise on what to do with the others.

When will the Procurator Fiscal be involved?

The Procurator Fiscal has a duty to investigate all accidental, unexpected, unexplained, suspicious or sudden deaths.

When reported, the Fiscal will investigate the circumstances surrounding the death and determine whether or not it merits any further action.

The police are usually called upon to draw up reports on the lead up to and the circumstances surrounding the reported death and the fiscal will make their decision based on the content of these reports.

In some cases a post mortem may be instructed. The death certificate will not be issued until after the post mortem has taken place.  The time between the death occurring and the post mortem can be quite long, therefore  you should decide on funeral arrangements during this waiting period i.e. Burial or cremation, religious or non-religous ceremony press notice, flowers, cars etc etc.

This can then all be ready to be actioned as soon as clearance is received. However a day date and time may not be set until after the post mortem has been completed and the fiscal has cleared us to proceed.

Things to consider when organising a funeral

There are many things to consider when arranging a funeral. These will differ depending on the circumstances of your bereavement. Please either read the text below, or watch the corresponding video which will hopefully answer any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information.

If the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan, then in most cases almost all of the decisions will have already been made and you will just need to register the death and make arrangements with us regarding the time the date and any elements not confirmed in advance.

Otherwise, the first thing you need to consider whether the funeral should be a burial or a cremation. This is a decision for the family to make. Sometimes the deceased will have expressed their wishes, sometimes it will be a family tradition. In any instance it is pretty much the first decision that you will need to make.

Do you wish the funeral to be Religious, or non-religious?
In many instances, people are regular church goers and in those cases the decision is going to be relatively easy. We will contact the minister or priest and a mutually agreeable timescale can be worked out. Increasingly nowadays more and more people are moving away from organised religion and there are several options in this situation. The most popular is to engage the services of a Humanist Celebrant. Humanists do not believe in the existence of God  and as such there should be no Hymns or Scripture at these services.

There are Civil Funeral Celebrants too. These are lay people with no allegiances to any church, however they will allow the singing of hymns and references to the existence of God. Nearly all of the non-religious services are held together with up to three pieces of secular music.

In all cases, religious, or either of the non-religious I have talked about. The celebrant is reliant on the family to provide background information on the deceased. Most will visit the family in order to build up a picture of the deceased and how they lived their life. Humour is not out of place here, after all this should be a celebration of the deceased life.

Where will the funeral take place?
In most cases where there is to be a cremation, there will only be one service at the crematorium, with whoever is officiating present. Sometimes, there will be a service at the deceased’s church, before the crematorium, or even occasionally afterwards. In the case of a burial, there will usually be a service prior. Either at the church if it is a religious service, or in a local hall, if it is not. Sometimes it is even held in our premises, but this is not usually suitable if the funeral is expected to be very well attended.

When someone dies at home

First things first. Call the Doctor, whether it’s the family G.P. or NHS 24. A medical professional should be called to verify death. If the doctor agrees that a medical certificate should be issued, then phone us on 01505 322444. Most families prefer the deceased to be removed, usually to our premises, at this time. If the doctor decides against issuing a death certificate, they can, under certain circumstances involve the police and the death may become a matter for the procurator fiscal.

When someone dies in hospital

You may be present when death occurs, or you may be called in after death occurs. In either case the deceased will later be removed to the hospital mortuary. You may be asked by staff if you have made a decision as to whether the funeral is to be a burial or a cremation. This is to allow staff to have the appropriate paperwork drawn up. A death certificate must be issued in every case, however, in the case of a cremation, two further doctors must agree on the cause of death and fill in and sign separate paperwork. We will liaise with the hospital on all of these aspects.

There is little or no point in phoning us in the middle of the night as we cannot remove the deceased or contact any personnel. However please don’t hesitate to contact us at any other time; evening, weekend or first thing in the morning.

When someone dies in a nursing home or hospice

In either a nursing home or hospice, when death occurs, usually the attendant staff will contact the undertaker, once the doctor has attended. In many cases you may well have known in advance that the death was imminent and as such may have given some thought as to what should happen next. Sometimes the deceased themselves may have left instructions. You of course can stipulate who they contact either in advance, or at this time.

Most nursing homes or indeed hospices do not have mortuary facilities and will call the undertaker to remove the deceased as soon as is practical. You may of course stay with your loved one until that point. We usually take over at that point dealing with all of the requisite paperwork and carrying out your wishes, as instructed.