Arranging a cremation
You can only arrange a cremation if you're 16 years or older, unless you're a parent of the person who has died.
You can apply for the cremation if:
- you were named in the dead person's will or declaration
- there’s no named person, or that person doesn't wish to arrange the cremation and you're the nearest relative
The guidance notes with the application explain who can complete the form.
The person completing the application is known as 'the applicant'.
How to arrange a cremation
To cremate a person in Scotland you must submit the right forms to the crematorium where you want the cremation to take place.
The forms you need are:
a certificate to confirm the death - this might be a Certificate of registration of death (Form 14), a certificate of registration of stillbirth, a certificate of pregnancy loss or Health Authority/medical practitioner confirmation that the pregnancy has ended
an Application for Cremation (Form A) - from 4 April 2019 new style forms will be available which can be either paper or electronic applications
If the death is being investigated
If the Procurator Fiscal has instructed the death to be investigated you will also need a certificate once the investigation is complete (Form E1). The Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit (SFIU) is a specialist unit for investigating these deaths. Form E1 can be sent directly to the crematorium by the SFIU or you can send it at the same time as Form A.
The person completing the application is known as 'the applicant'. Check you are able to arrange the cremation under the law before you complete the form.
If you're not able to complete the form yourself, for example because you are disabled or English isn't your first language, you can authorise someone to complete it on your behalf. This must be done in your presence and you must sign the form.
If a cremation can't go ahead at a crematorium and needs to be carried out at a different crematorium, you'll need to submit a new form.
You'll need to state what you want to happen to the ashes on the form.
The ashes can be:
You can choose to collect the ashes directly from the crematorium. They may be in an urn or a box, depending on what has been agreed with the crematorium.
The crematorium must give you written notice (this can be by email) that they have the ashes and that they're ready to be collected. If the ashes aren’t collected within 4 weeks of the cremation taking place, the cremation authority will try to contact you to agree a new date for collection. If you don't respond or give the crematorium new instructions to handle the ashes, the crematorium may scatter or bury the ashes, according to their standard procedure. If this happens, it will be recorded in its cremation register.
You can arrange for a funeral director to collect the ashes, for example to arrange a ceremony to bury the ashes. The funeral director will give you written notice (this can be by email) that they have the ashes and that they are ready to be collected. If the ashes are not collected within 4 weeks of them being made available, the funeral director will try to contact you to agree a new date for collection. If you don't respond or don’t tell the funeral director how to dispose of the ashes, they can return the ashes to the crematorium. The cremation authority will contact you to find out your wishes.
Not all crematoriums offer the same services, for example some will scatter ashes while others will bury them. You should speak to the cremation authority or funeral director about the options.
Each cremation authority must have a register with an entry for every cremation carried out. The information must be added to the register as soon as reasonably practicable. This register must be kept indefinitely. The register can be made available to the public but a cremation authority may charge a fee. The information recorded on the register will depend on the type of cremation carried out, for example in the case of stillbirth or pregnancy loss the details will be anonymised.