Register a death

It is a legal requirement for a death in Scotland to be registered within 8 days of the event. It can be registered at any registration office in Scotland.

Register a death

Who can register a death

A death can be registered by:

  • any relative of the deceased person
  • any person present at the death
  • the deceased person's executor or other legal representative
  • the occupier of the property where the person died
  • a funeral director who is responsible for arranging the funeral if requested by anyone above
  • anyone who knows the information needed to register the death, if no one else is available

How to register a death

Call 030 33 33 3004 to make an appointment to register a birth. The appointment can be:

  • by telephone
  • in person

What you need at your appointment

You'll need a few things for your appointment with the registrar: 

  • the medical certificate of the cause of death
  • the deceased person's birth certificate
  • the deceased person's marriage or civil partnership certificates (if relevant)
  • the deceased person's NHS medical card (if available)

Some medical certificates are randomly selected for a review. If this happens, the paperwork cannot be issued until the review is complete. Reviews can take up to 3 working days.

The death certificate

You get a free copy of the abbreviated death certificate when the death is registered. The abbreviated certificate contains no reference to the cause of death or the deceased’s spouse or parentage. You can also buy a full certificate for £10 within one month of registering. Find out how to order certificates.

If you register in person you'll get the certificates on the day. If you register by telephone, we'll send them to you.