Registering a Death

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 by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The death can be registered in any registration district in Scotland.

You should note that a burial or 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.

What information is required?

If the documents above are available, the death should be registered without any problem. If all of these documents are not available the registrar will require the following information about the deceased.

  • the full name, occupation and address of the deceased, including his or her country of birth
  • if the deceased was married, widowed or divorced, the full name and occupation of the spouse
  • if the deceased had been married more than once, details of previous spouses is also required
  • if the deceased was married at the time of death, the date of birth of the surviving spouse is required
  • the full name and occupation of the deceased's father and the full name, maiden name and occupation of the deceased's mother
  • the name and address of the deceased's own doctor
What documents will you receive?

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 form for Social Security (Form 334 S1) which is required for obtaining or adjusting Social Security benefits.
  • An abbreviated death extract Additional abbreviated or full extracts can be obtained for a fee ( currently £10.00 per extract)
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.

Tell Us Once

Tell Us Once is a free service offered by HM Government.

When someone has died, there are lots of things that need to be done, at a time when you probably least feel like doing them.

Tell Us Once is voluntary to use and very helpful. It enables you to report a death only once, telling central and local government services securely and confidentially without you having to inform them individually.  Many services can be notified and these include:

  • the local council - to update services such as Council Housing, Housing Benefit, Council Tax, Blue Badge and remove the person from the Electoral Register
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - to deal with personal tax and to update regarding Child Benefit and Tax Credits claims (contact HMRC separately for business taxes, like VAT)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - to update benefits information for example: State Pension, Universal Credit
  • Passport Office - to cancel a British passport
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) - to cancel a driving licence and to remove registered keeper details, possibly for up to five vehicles
  • Public Sector or Armed Forces Pension Schemes - to update pension records

How do I use the service?

After you have registered the death with the Registrar, if the service is offered face to face, they will complete the Tell Us Once service with you at the same time.

Otherwise, the Registrar will provide you with a unique Tell Us Once reference number, which will enable you to access the service Online via GOV.UK at or via the telephony service 0800 085 7308.

If you have been issued with an Interim Death Certificate you may still be able to use the service and the Registrar will advise you how to do so.  It will help you to have all the relevant information listed below about the person before using Tell Us Once:

  • date of birth
  • address of the deceased
  • National Insurance number
  • driving licence number
  • vehicle registration number
  • passport number

You will also need:

  • details of any benefits or entitlements they were receiving, for example State Pension, Universal Credit
  • details of any local council services they were receiving, for example Adult Social Services, Blue Badge, travel pass
  • the name and address of their next of kin
  • the name and address of any surviving spouse or civil partner
  • the name, address and contact details of the person or company dealing with their estate (property, belongings and money), known as their ‘executor’ or ‘administrator’
  • details of any public sector or armed forces pension schemes they were getting or paying into

Please note

  • Permission is required from the next of kin, the executor, the administrator and anyone who was claiming benefits or entitlements jointly with the person who died, before you give their details.
  • There is no need to follow-up contact after you have used Tell Us Once unless you don’t receive a confirmation from the relevant department after a reasonable period of time, in most cases a calendar month.
  • Once the various agencies informed by Tell Us Once have received notification of the death, they will make any further contact if necessary with the bereaved family.
  • Tell Us Once is not a claim to benefit, therefore please contact GOV.UK or the relevant department for advice.
  • Tell Us Once does not notify any commercial organisations of the death and cannot arrange for redirection of post.


Burial Services

Shetland Islands Council maintain burial grounds across Shetland and make arrangements for interments. More information on Burial Services can be found on the Burial Services pages