Wilson + Fish is a specialist executry (probate) Scottish law firm. Our solicitors specialise in assisting clients in winding up estates. This process involves several legal and practical steps, including registering the death.
Firstly, it is important to note that any death which occurs in Scotland must be registered within eight days. Understandably, if you are suffering a bereavement, this deadline can cause additional stress at an already very upsetting time. Our skilled lawyers can advise on how to complete the registration quickly and accurately, to avoid unnecessary visits to the registration office. It can also be possible for one of our lawyers to register the death on your behalf.
Who Can Register a Death?
In order to register a death, you must be a relative of the deceased, their executor, their solicitor, or have been present at the death. If the deceased died at home, anyone who was living with them can register the death. In this situation, the person who registers the death need not be the deceased’s spouse or cohabitant – anyone who shared a home with the deceased can complete the registration process.
If someone meets one of these criteria, then others will not be able to register the death. For example, if the deceased lived with their partner, then a friend who does not fall within the categories listed above cannot register the death. Where, however, no-one else is in a position to register the death, you can complete registration provided that you know the deceased’s personal details (full name, date of birth, address, and the date, place, and circumstances of the death) and have the relevant documents to hand.
Which Documents are Required to Register a Death?
A medical certificate identifying the cause of death is a strict requirement to register a death in Scotland. A doctor should provide you with this shortly after the death. This is the only document which is legally required, but it will be useful for the registrar if you also have the deceased’s NHS card, birth certificate, marriage or civil partnership certificate, and any documentation relating to their pension, benefits, or other government funding.
How do I Register the Death?
Once you have the medical certificate, you can find your most convenient registration office on this website. You are permitted to register the death at any Scottish registration office – it is not required that you register in the district where the death occurred.
You will then receive a certificate of registration of death and an abbreviated copy of the entry in the national register. The funeral director will normally require to see the certificate.
How do I Proceed if the Death was Outside Scotland?
If the deceased died outwith Scotland, you will need to comply with the laws in the place of death. It will usually be necessary to obtain a death certificate in the country where the death occurred and (where applicable) you will be required to obtain a certified translation to use the document in the UK. We can advise on the most efficient means of obtaining a foreign death certificate.
Similarly, if you are an overseas lawyer dealing with the estate of a foreign national who died in Scotland, we are able to assist.
Contact our Expert Executry and Probate Solicitors Glasgow, Scotland
At Wilson & Fish, we offer clear and pragmatic advice, free of consuming legal jargon which is particularly important at, what can be, such a stressful time in your life. If you would like to discuss your own circumstances or require our assistance in registering a death, or in any other executry matters, please contact our expert solicitors by telephone on 0141 222 7951 or via our online form.