National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Registration of Deaths and Still-births

Registration of Deaths and Still-births

The attached Registration Privacy Notice (150KB PDF) tells you what happens to personal information when a life event is registered.

  • Deaths which have occurred in Scotland should be registered within the statutory period of 8 days from the date of occurrence
  • Deaths can be registered at any registration office (62 KB pdf) in Scotland  

Who can register a death?

  • Any relative of the deceased which includes a relative by marriage or civil partnership.
  • Any person present at the death, for example a friend, district nurse, neighbour etc.
  • The deceased’s executor or other legal representative. The registrar will require to see the written authority.
  • The occupier of the premises where the death took place for example governor, matron or person in charge of a care home, hospital, or other institution.  
  • If there is no suitable informant from the list above, any other person having knowledge of the particulars to be registered can register the death. 

Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD)

This certificate will be produced by the registered medical practitioner who was attending to the deceased and will be forwarded directly to the registration office of your choice. If requested, a copy of the MCCD can also be emailed to the person who will be registering the death.

Around 12% of MCCD’s will be randomly selected for review by the Death Certification Review Team prior to the death being registered to ensure the accuracy of the certificate details. However if the funeral has to take place within a certain timescale you can apply for advance registration. Please contact the registration office to request an Advance registration. If your request needs to be completed out with business hours, please check the registration office website for out of hours contact details.

How do I register a death?

Please contact the registration office where you wish to register the death and they will advise which death registration services they offer.

You may be offered an in-person appointment to register the death, or you may be given the option to register the death by telephone or during an online call (a ‘remote registration’).

You may find this summary Guidance for registering a death (256 KB pdf) helpful.

The following information will be required for the deceased:-

  1. Full name
  2. Date of birth
  3. Usual residence
  4. Occupation
  5. Details of marriage(s) and or civil partnership(s)
  6. Full name and occupation of Father/Parent
  7. Full name, maiden name (if appropriate) and occupation of Mother/Parent
  8. Full name and address of Doctor

You will also be asked for additional information which does not appear on the register entry but is gathered for statistical purposes.

The following documents will be helpful in completing the death registration: 

  • Deceased’s Birth Extract (if available)
  • Deceased’s marriage/civil partnership extracts (if applicable)
  • Deceased’s National Health Service medical card (if available)

During your appointment the registrar will ask you to confirm the accuracy of the information given and you will be asked to provide a signature for the register entry, to confirm its accuracy.

Remote Registration

Please send a scan or photograph any documents relating to life events for the deceased person that took place outside Scotland to the registrar. The registrar will confirm the email address for receipt of these documents. The documents should be in English or accompanied by an English translation.

During a remote registration appointment the registrar will create a template of the entry and either read this back to you, or send a draft to you via email to confirm the accuracy of the information given. 

On confirming the accuracy of the entry the registrar will ask you how you usually sign your signature. This will be added to the entry followed by the word “(Transcribed)”.

What happens after the registration has been completed?

You will receive one copy of the abbreviated death certificate free of charge.   

The registrar will offer to send a scanned copy of the Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 14) to your funeral director to allow funeral arrangements to be made.  If you have not decided on a funeral director the registrar will offer to email or post a copy of the Certificate of Registration of Death to you. 

You will be given the opportunity to purchase any full death certificates you may require for business purposes, such as for life insurance or private pension company.

These documents can be given to you immediately if you are in the registration office, or posted to you if your registration is being completed remotely.

Tell Us Once

The Tell Us Once Service is a government service which allows you to report a death to several government departments, agencies and the local authority in one contact. For example, Tell Us Once will help you to report the death to most of the offices that were paying benefits to the person who died, as well as to other government agencies such as the Passport Service and the DVLA.

You must register the death first.

The registrar will offer you the opportunity to complete the Tell us Once Service.  

They will either:-

  • complete the Tell Us Once service with you when you register the death


  • give you a unique reference number to allow you to use the service on line or by phone

The registrar will notify the local authority Council Tax department of any death of a person 18 years of age or older, and the Electoral Registration Officer will be notified of a death where the deceased is 14 years of age or older.

Funeral Support Payment

Funeral Support Payment (100 KB pdf) is available to people who are paying for a funeral, are on certain low-income benefits or tax credits and are the nearest relation to the person who has died.

The average total payment is £1,800 and can help towards burial or cremation fees, some travel costs, and other expenses such as funeral director fees, a coffin, or flowers.

Applications can be made up to six months following a funeral. 

Check if you are eligible for a payment, and apply online at

Last updated February 2024