Essential Funerals

Humanist Funerals Scotland

Registering a death

In most cases, registering a death should take place prior to the funeral, and is carried out by a relative.

If no relative is available then the duty may be performed by any person present at the death, the occupier of the premises where the death took place, or the person who is accepting responsibility for arranging the funeral. It may be necessary to arrange an appointment with the Registrar.

To register a death you need a Medical Certificate of Death.  This can only be supplied by a doctor.  This is usually then taken to the local Registrar (usually situated within the Council Offices).

To register, you normally need to make an appointment with the registrar.

In Scotland a death must be registered within 8 days and The law allows a death to be registered in any registration district in Scotland.

In England and Wales a death must be registered within 5 days.

What does the Registrar need to know?

The Registrar will require the following information about the deceased:

  • Date and place of death
  • Full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Home address
  • If they were in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds
  • If applicable, the date of birth of the surviving spouse

If the death has been referred to the coroner/procurator fiscal, the registration process may vary.

The Registrar will also require the following documents:

  • Medical Certificate of Cause of Death
  • Deceased’s National Health Service medical card (if available)
  • Deceased’s Birth Certificate
  • Deceased’s Marriage Certificate (if applicable)

The Registrar may issue a green certificate for burial or cremation (a white certificate of registration of death in Scotland), which is required by us prior to the funeral. Certified copies of the entry of death can be obtained for a small charge – these may be needed for legal or financial purposes.

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.