Registering the death

To register a death, you must bring a Death Notification Form stating the cause of death to any Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths. The staff of the hospital (if the death occurred in a hospital) or of your local health centre, will be able to tell you where you can register the death.

You can get the Death Notification Form from the doctor who attended the deceased during their last illness. You must complete Part 2 of the Death Notification Form. You must then sign the Register in the presence of the Registrar. You will need to bring photo ID with you. This registration is free.

A doctor must be satisfied about the cause of death before he/she can certify it. If he/she didn’t see the deceased at least 28 days before the death occurred, or if he/she isn’t satisfied about the cause of death, he/she must inform a Coroner who will decide if a postmortem is necessary. If the deceased died as the result of an accident, or in violent or unexplained circumstances the coroner must be informed.

There may be a delay in registering a death where a postmortem is carried out. The death is automatically registered where an inquest or postmortem is held at the request of the Coroner. The Coroner issues a certificate to the Registrar containing all the details to be registered.

Deaths should be registered as soon as possible and no later than 3 months from the date of the death. You will require the written permission of the Registrar General to register any death that was not registered within one year.

You should approach a maternity hospital or your local Registrar for information on how to register a stillborn child.

Getting a death certificate

You can get copies of the death certificate from the Registrar when you are registering the death. To obtain a copy of a death certificate at a later stage, you can go directly to any Registrar’s office. You can also apply for a death certificate by post. An application form for a copy of a death certificate is available from the General Register Office.

You can also apply online for a copy of a certificate.

There is a reduced fee for those who need the death certificate for social welfare purposes. You do not necessarily have to wait for the death certificate before claiming social welfare benefits, as a copy of the death notice from the newspapers will be accepted if there is a delay in getting the certificate.