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.


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