Civil and independent funerals

Civil Funeral

Civil funerals are increasingly common. They are simply more appropriate for those who neither lived according to religious principles, nor accepted religious views of life or death.

A civil or humanist funeral recognises no god or "after-life", but instead uniquely and affectionately celebrates the life of the person who has died. It is a personal and dignified tribute created by a professional celebrant who works closely with the family or executor and funeral director.

Funeral Celebrants

A Funeral Celebrant is a person who can help plan, write and lead a Funeral service. People from all walks of life choose to become a celebrant but all are motivated by a strong desire to help families give the person who has died a good send-off, one that honours, gives thanks for, and, even, celebrates a life.

Some Celebrants are introduced to families by a Funeral Director, others are approached directly. Either way, all will work closely with the family and the funeral director to ensure everything goes to plan.

The celebrant will aim to create a highly personal ceremony with the help of family and/or friends - recounting the person's experiences, attributes and qualities using music, poetry, readings and personal anecdotes.  The civil funeral may be held anywhere except religious buildings and churches.

The ceremony is appropriate for burial or cremation in a non-religious burial ground.

British Humanist Association

The BHA is the national charity supporting and representing people who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs. It campaigns for an open society, a secular state and for a world without religious privilege or discrimination. Humanists are atheists and agnostics who make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values. They take responsibility for their actions and base their ethics on the goals of human welfare, happiness and fulfillment.

See the British Humanist Association website (takes you to an external site) for more information on civil or humanist funerals.

Independent Funeral

There is no written rule that says that you have to use a Funeral Director, however, at such a difficult time and when there is such a lot to organise and consider, unless arrangements have been made well in advance of the death, special consideration should be given to this option as they will know many of the procedures that need to be followed and will know the order in which they must be done. The Funeral Director organises the funeral by collecting and moving the body, arranging embalming (if required) and viewing of the deceased, ensuring that statutory certificates and other information is relayed to the cemetery or crematorium office, providing a coffin, hearse and liaising with the cemetery or crematorium office regarding the service in the chapel or at the graveside.  Carrying out these services relieves the bereaved from doing what they may feel are unpleasant and difficult tasks at a difficult time.

However, some people do not wish to use a Funeral Director and this can be for a wide variety of reasons.  They may feel that passing the body of a loved one over to strangers is wrong.  Some feel that personally organising the funeral is their final tribute to the deceased person.  Others may simply wish to save money by doing everything themselves. 

When someone dies a medical Certificate of Cause of Death will be issued and must be taken to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages before any funeral arrangements are made, where possible, as a cremation can not go ahead without the death being registered.

The death should be registered as soon as possible after the death, certainly within 8 days of the death.  The registration be carried out by:

  • Any relative of the deceased, or;
  • Any person present at the death, or;
  • The deceased’s executor or other legal representative, or;
  • The occupier, at the time of death, of the premises where the death took place or;
  • Any other person having knowledge of the particulars to be registered.

If you wish to make the funeral arrangements rather than use a funeral director then please contact us on the details below for advice on what paperwork is required for either burial or cremation.

Bereavement Services Central
Tel: 01592 583524
By Post: Fife House North Street Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LT

Bereavement Services East
Tel: 01334 659336
By Post: Fife House North Street Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LT

Bereavement Services West
Tel: 01383 602335
By Post: Fife House North Street Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LT
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