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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).

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

As of the 24 April 2017 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.

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 office opens at 10.00am) 
  • 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

Medical Review

A new system of medical scrutiny of deaths was introduced in Scotland from 13 May 2015.

This will mean that when you attend the Registrar's office to register a death your certificate may be selected at random for review by the Medical Reviewer.

If a level 1 review is selected you may experience a delay in registering the death of up to 1 working day, however, if a level 2 review has been selected this could mean a delay of up to 3 days. The Registrar will let you know when you attend the office if your certificate has been selected and if so will contact you when the review has been completed.

If a level 1 review takes place the Medical Reviewer will check the Medical Certificate Cause of Death and speak to the certifying doctor. The registrar will contact the informant once the review is complete.

If a level 2 review,takes place, in addition to the usual process for a level 1 review the Medical Reviewer will check aspects of the person's clinical record. A level 2 review will normally be completed within three working days and the registrar will contact the informant once the review is complete.

The Medical Reviewer may also request that a death is automatically referred for review if it matches the criteria specified by the Medical Reviewer. This is called a 'For Cause' review and will be carried out on an ad hoc basis when the criteria has been met.

We do not anticipate that these reviews will cause significant delays for the majority of families when making funeral arrangements as Medical Reviewers know that families will be anxious to proceed with arranging the funeral and will do all they can to minimise delays.

Please also see Certification of Death Act

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

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.