Registering a Death

How do I register a death?

The death has to be registered within eight days of death by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your local area, but it is desirable to have the death registered as soon as possible. We will advise on when you should have this done by.

Who can register the death?

The death may be registered by any relative, any person present at the death, the executor or other legal representative, the occupier of the premises where the death took place or, if there is no such person, any other person possessing the information the information needed for registration.

Where do I go to register the death?

If death has occurred in Scotland the death may be registered at any Registration of Birth, Death and Marriages Office across the country.

Many local councils now ask that an appointment be agreed with a local office as registering a death can take between 1 and 2 hours and they are keen to avoid families having lengthy waits at Registration Offices.

Information on local Registration Offices in the west Fife and Kinross-shire areas is available on the Fife Council website (click here) or the Perth and Kinross Council website (click here) and we can also provide information on Registration Offices in other parts of Scotland.

Take with you:

  • Medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD)
  • Any pension book, certificate or document relating to any pension or allowances which the person was receiving from public funds.
  • National Insurance number, if available.
  • The dead person’s birth and marriage certificates, if available.

Tell the Registrar:

  • Date, time and place of death. (Information is on MCCD)
  • Full name, occupation and postal address of the dead person and his or her date and country of birth.(Information is on MCCD)
  • If the person was married, widowed or divorced, the full name of the husband or wife and the occupation of the husband. If the person had been married more than once, details of previous spouses are also required. (Information is available on Marriage Certificate)
  • If the person was married at the date of death, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower.
  • The full name and occupation of the dead person’s father, and the full name and maiden surname of his/her mother. (Information is available on Birth Certificate)
  • Whether the person was in receipt of a pension or an allowance from public funds.
  • The name and address of the person’s NHS doctor.

The Registrar will give you:

  • A Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 14), to be given to ourselves, so that the funeral can go ahead.
  • A form 334/SI, “Registration or notification of death” for use in obtaining or adjusting Social Security Benefits or for National Insurance purposes.  Many Registrars will now offer to inform the Department of Works and Pensions and other government agencies on your behalf that death of your loved one has taken place.  We would advise clients to use this very helpful service.
  • An abbreviate extract of the death entry (free of charge)
  • On payment of the appropriate fee, an extract of the entry recorded in the Register of Deaths. This may be required for pension, insurance, savings bank, premium bonds or other purposes.

Following the introduction of new legislation, from 13 May 2015, Healthcare Improvement Scotland will review a random sample of medical certificates of cause of death. If the death you are registering is selected for review you may not immediately be able to complete the death registration. These reviews are designed to check the quality and accuracy of death certificates and to improve how this information is recorded. You can still make initial funeral arrangements while the review is underway. However, the funeral itself cannot take place until the review is completed.

If you need the funeral to go ahead quickly, in special circumstances you may be granted advance registration. Special circumstances include:

  • religious/cultural (such as faith requirements to bury a person quickly);
  • compassionate (where delays would cause significant and unnecessary distress); and
  • practical/administrative (for example, family have travelled from abroad to attend the funeral)

Our funeral director will explain the review process, timescales and the circumstances in which you can apply for advance registration. Deaths which are reported to the Procurator Fiscal will not be included in those selected for review.

If death occurs outside Scotland

Register the death according to the local regulations in the country and get a certificate of death. We will be happy to advise you on local procedures to be followed.

Register the death with the British Consul, so that a record of the death will be kept in Scotland, and you will be able to get a copy later from the General Register Office for Scotland, New Register House, Edinburgh EH1 3YT, telephone: 0131 334 0380.