When the time comes, it can be a great comfort to your nearest and dearest to be able to
conform to your wishes, and by leaving written instructions, you can avoid any uncertainty on
their part as to your intentions.
The purpose of this document is to help you to plan your own funeral. We advise you to keep
a completed copy with other important documents, like your will.
In it, we suggest various options for the disposal of your body, from burial to its donation to
science. You should consider what kind of ceremony you want in order to celebrate your life,
and you should be aware that every form of disposal has its own implications.
For instance, if you choose to donate your body to science, although your body would not be
present, you still can have a memorial ceremony to celebrate your life which would allow
your loved ones to say goodbye. And if you wish to be buried to be in a green burial ground,
you should bear in mind that your nearest and dearest might encounter some difficulty in
accessing the site, if it is in a remote place.
Some of the terminology surrounding your funeral celebration may be unfamiliar – words like
celebrant, committal, entry, and retiral for example – in which case you may want to read our
helpful leaflet on the subject, which can be found at this web address.
From a technical point of view, this document is available in both Microsoft Word and Open
Office formats, for editing on a computer, and also as a portable document format (PDF) for
printing and completing by hand.
272 Bath Street | Glasgow G2 4JR | 0870 874 9002
The HSS is Scottish Charity No SC026570
I, _______________, wish my executor(s) to ensure that my funeral – the celebration of my
life - is in the Humanist tradition and conforms to the checklist completed below.
It is my wish that, after my death, my life be celebrated in a Humanist ceremony.
I have made funeral arrangements with:
I have a pre-payment scheme with:
Person to conduct Ceremony
I wish the person to conduct my ceremony to be either:
______________, who is a Celebrant with the Humanist Society of Scotland, who can be
Or an HSS Celebrant chosen by the HSS National Ceremonies Co-ordinator
Or an HSS Celebrant, chosen by the Funeral Director
The HSS National Ceremonies Co-ordinator can be contacted on 0870 874 9002, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at National Ceremonies Co-ordinator,
Humanist Society of Scotland, 272 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4JR.
Method of committing my body
I wish to have
Select Method Location
A traditional burial Cemetery
A green or woodland Cemetery
A cremation Crematorium
My ashes Location
Scattered/ buried/ Address
My body donated to Research Centre
A burial or cremation attended only by close family
An unattended private burial or cremation
A memorial ceremony Location
Music to be played
Music can have an important part to play in a ceremony, especially if it is held at a
crematorium. The resident organist can provide live music, but other musicians can be
brought in as well or instead. Recorded music is increasingly popular. This is generally
played from CDs provided by you or your friends or relatives, but some crematoriums have
their own libraries of recorded music. The Funeral Director should be informed so that the
correct arrangements should be made. Please note that all playing of music is subject to
various legal requirements, and those organising the funeral should ensure that public
performance rights are recognised.
In most Humanist celebrations, there are usually three places where music is appropriate.
Music sets the mood at the beginning of the ceremony as everyone arrives; it can be an aid
to reflection, during the period of contemplation that usually follow the tribute; and it can raise
everyone’s spirits as people pay their respects to your family and friends when they leave
after the committal and closing words.
Your choice of music can say a great deal about you, and your celebrant will welcome the
opportunity to say that the deceased has chosen the music him or her self.
The music I wish to have at my funeral is indicated below:
I would like to have the following pieces of music played at the ceremony
At the beginning:
During a period of quiet
reflection in the ceremony
At the end:
I do not want music to be played at the ceremony.
It has become the custom nowadays, to ask the gathering not to bring flowers, but instead to
donate to a favourite charity. The Funeral Director will normally arrange for a charity box to
be made available, or perhaps the crematorium will have a collection basket. It is normally
the responsibility of the person organising the funeral to ensure that the collection is donated
to the correct charity.
That a collection should be made for
That no charity collection should be made
Eulogy or Tribute
In a Humanist funeral, we focus on the life of the deceased, and we do so by means of a
eulogy or tribute, which consists of the thoughts and memories of those close to you. You
could of course write your own eulogy, and ask someone else to deliver it, but you may wish
to ask friends and/or family members to write and deliver all or some of your tribute, with or
without of the help of a celebrant of the Humanist Society of Scotland.
Who should deliver the tribute?
I wish that the following person/people be asked to deliver my eulogy, or to arrange the
recording to be made, or otherwise ensure that my wishes be carried out, with respect to my
Audio Recording Location:
You may wish to be carried to your final resting place by family members or friends. The
usual number of pallbearers is either four or six. You may wish to speak to your Funeral
Directors for their advice, and ask them to make the necessary arrangements.
If possible, I would like the following people to be my pallbearers.
Name Address Telephone
I wish that:
That there should be family flowers only
That there should be no flowers
I would like the reception after the ceremony to be
I do not want there to be a reception after the
The involvement of friends
You may also wish to leave other thoughts, suggestions or instructions on a separate sheet
of paper: the names of people you wish to thank or otherwise acknowledge in the ceremony;
contact details, if you have them, for friends you wish to be informed of your funeral or
instructions regarding the disposal of your ashes should you choose to be cremated.
Some people choose to have a private burial or cremation ceremony attended only by their
closest friends or family members. They, and people who choose to leave their body to
medical science, often choose to have a memorial ceremony at another date and time and in
a location of their choice, and these are generally unconstrained by the time limits of formal
burials and cremations.
For more information on all types of humanist ceremonies, please visit our web site, or
contact the National Ceremonies Co-ordinator on 0870 874 9002, at
email@example.com or by post at the following address.
National Ceremonies Co-ordinator, Humanist Society of Scotland, 272 Bath Street, Glasgow