Registering a death

Information on how to register a death.

When a death takes place in Scotland this must be registered in any registration office in Scotland

When a person dies, the doctor or the hospital will issue a medical certificate of cause of death (Form 11). 

When you receive the certificate from a member of medical staff check the certificate.

Please ensure the doctor has completed the following sections :

Part B Details of Certifying Doctor - Ensure the doctor has signed this. 

Sections D - Hazards - Ensure each box has been ticked YES or NO

Section E - Ensure Additional Information Post mortem examination by pathologist has also been completed - there is only a requirement for one of these boxes to be ticked.

Attendance on deceased - there is only a requirement for one of these boxes to be ticked.

If the Form 11 is not fully completed this may cause delays with the registration.

Once you have received this certificate you can then register the death. 

You must book an appointment to register a death in any of our local registration offices. Please ensure you are in receipt of the death certificate (Form 11) before arranging an appointment. You will be asked to confirm a few details from the Form 11 when contacting the office for an appointment.

To book an appointment you can either: 

  • call 01506 281898 or 01506 282914 between the hours of 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday (except Wednesday offices will close at 3pm) 
  • email registration@westlothian.gov.uk
  • If we are unable to answer your call please leave a message with a short description of your enquiry and we will endeavour to call you back as soon as possible.

Please be aware some of our offices are open plan and do not have access to private Registration rooms, if this is something you would prefer please contact us to advise you of where a private room would be available.

Please also take, if you have them:

  • The birth certificate of the deceased.
  • If applicable, marriage or civil partnership certificate of all marriages or civil partnerships.
  • The deceased's medical card - if not available, the name of the deceased's registered doctor.

Don't delay registering a death if these documents are not available, The registration can take place without them however, please see below regarding the information we require to complete registration.

When should I register a death?

A death should normally be registered within 8 days of its occurrence.

Information on Medical Reviews selected at random

What information will the registrar ask for?

The registrar will need you to know the following information about the person who has died.

  • Full name and last occupation.
  • Date and country of birth.
  • Usual home address.
  • Father's full name and occupation.
  • Mother's full maiden name and occupation (if appropriate).
  • If the person was married, widowed or divorced,details of all previous marriage(s), wife's maiden name(s), and their occupation(s), 
  • If the person was in a civil partnership,their partner's full name(s), maiden name(s) and occupation(s).
  • NHS number
  • Date of birth of surviving husband, wife or civil partner.
  • Doctor's name and surgery address.

Who can register a death?

A death can be registered by:

  • Any relative of the deceased
  • Any person present at the death
  • The deceased's executor or other legal representative
  • The occupier, at the time of death, of the premises where the death took place.
  • If there is no person as above, anyone having knowledge of the particulars to be registered.

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 then be sent to Scotland and you will thereafter be able to get a copy from New Register House.

Once the death is registered

Once the death has been registered the registrar will issue the following documents free of charge:

  • A certificate of registration of death (Form 14) to be given to the funeral director.
  • An abbreviated extract of the death entry.

Full Death Extract

A full death extract can be purchased at the time of registration, this may be required for any personal business of the deceased including insurance policies and private pensions. At the time of registration and up to one month this will cost £10.00, or £15.00 thereafter.


Tell Us Once Service

Icon for pdf Tell Us Once - Privacy Statement [94.95KB]

Tell Us Once service notifies the government departments and local authority services that need to be made aware of a death.

You can use the service;

  • At the same time as you register the death
  • Online (the registrar will give you a reference number)
  • Over the telephone (the registrar will give you the number to call and a reference number)

The Tell Us Once service is normally contacted by the deceased's next of kin, or the person dealing with their estate. If you wish to act on their behalf you must get their permission first.

The information will be treated securely and confidentially.

What information will they need?

If the following information is available they will use the information to update records and end services, benefits and credits as appropriate and resolve any outstanding issues.

  • Name and address of next of kin
  • National insurance number,
  • Driving licence number
  • Passport number
  • Details of any benefits or entitlements they were getting e.g. state pension.
  • Details of any local council services the were receiving e.g. blue badge.

If the deceased is the registered owner of a car, it is now possible to take the reference number to contact the service and cancel the registration. This can only be done online and the car registration number is essential.

If you need help to pay for a funeral

If you're on benefits, you might be able to get help. You might be able to claim even if you weren't married or in a civil partnership with the person who died.

For more information on help paying for a funeral, contact the Advice Shop on the link at the bottom of this page.

Claiming Bereavement Support Payment

You need to be under State Pension age

Your spouse or civil partner must have paid National Insurance for at least 25 weeks in a single tax year. When you apply, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will check to see if they paid enough National Insurance.

If your spouse or civil partner died because of an accident at work, or from a disease caused by their work, the rule about National Insurance doesn't apply.

How much you can get

If you don't have children, you can get a lump sum payment of £2,500 and monthly payments of £100 for up to 18 months.

If you have children or you're pregnant, you can get a lump sum payment of £3,500 and monthly payments of £350 for up to 18 months.

You won't have to pay tax on any of the payments, including the lump sum.

You won't lose your Bereavement Support Payment if you marry, enter a civil partnership or move in with a new partner.

You won't be paid your Bereavement Support Payment if you're given a prison sentence. If you're in prison on remand, you'll still be able to get Bereavement Support Payment unless you're later sentenced to imprisonment.

If you still have some of the lump sum left after a year, it could affect the amount of other benefits you can get. Your monthly payments won't affect your other benefits.