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Registering a Death

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Who can Register a Death in Scotland?

The death can be registered by:

  • Any relative of the deceased, or
  • Any person present when the person died, or
  • The deceased's executor or other legal representative, or
  • The occupier of the property where the person died, or if there is no such person,
  • Anyone else who knows the information to be registered.

How and Where do I Register a Death?

Any death which occurs in Scotland must be registered within eight days of the date of death by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The lawallows adeath to be registered in any registration district in Scotland. You can obtain the address of the local registrar from the undertaker, the hospital, the doctor, the telephone book (see under 'Registration of Births, Death and Marriages') and the Directory of Registrars in Scotland(172 Kb pdf file).
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The opening hours of registration offices varies between local authorities and some operate an appointments system. You should therefore check with the relevant local authority before attending an office. You will wish to note that a burial can take place before the registration but that a cremation can only take place after the death has been registered.

What Documents should I take to the Registrar?

You should take with you:

  • The medical certificate of cause of death;
  • The deceased's birth and marriage certificate;
  • The deceased's NHS medical card;
  • Any documents relating to the receipt of a pension or allowance from government funds.

Do not worry if any of these documents are not available as the registrar can still proceed to register the death.

When the registration is complete the registrar will give you, free of charge:

  • A certificate of registration of death for production to the person in charge of the burial ground or crematorium;
  • A Social Security registration or notification of death certificate for use in obtaining or adjusting Social Security benefits.
  • An abbreviated extract (i.e. excluding cause of death and parentage details) of the death entry.
  • You can obtain a full extract of the death entry for a fee.

Other Useful information

The Scottish Government booklet What to do after a death in Scotland gives practical advice for bereaved people and is widely available in registration offices. You can also get a copy by telephoning 0131 244 2193.

What if the Death Occurs Abroad?

You should register the death according to local regulations in the country concerned and obtain a certificate of death. You may also be able to register the death with the British Consul in that country for a fee. However, there is no obligation to do so. A record of the death will be sent to Scotland and you will thereafter be able to get a copy from New Register House.

Page last updated: 2 August 2012

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