What to do when someone dies

Immediately after death may be a difficult time as you are grieving but there are practical considerations you need to take, outlined below.  You do not need to wait for the death certificate to be issued before you call us.

When someone dies at home the first thing to do is call the family GP and s/he will be able to come out and issue you with a medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) which you will need to register the death at the Registrar of births, marriages and deaths.  If the doctor has not had any cause to see your loved one in the previous 14 days or the death was unexpected, you can contact the police on 111.  You may be advised that a report will be sent to a Procurator Fiscal who will decide if a post-mortem examination is to be carried out to ascertain cause of death.

When someone dies in hospital your loved one will be kept at the mortuary until your funeral director takes them to the funeral parlour.  The hospital will issue you with the death certificate.

When someone dies abroad you must register the death according to the regulations of the country, and get a consulate death certificate.  Register the death with the British Consul in the country as well so that a record may be kept in the U.K.

Registering a death in Scotland can be done once you have been issued with the MCCD. Phone the Registrar (03451 550077) to make an appointment, which can be at any of their local offices.  To the appointment, take the MCCD, birth certificate, marriage or civil partnership certificate, and medical card/NHS number if you have them.  If you need copies of the death certificate to give to the bank or to send to insurers, you can purchase these at time of registration.  The Registrar will record the death and issue you with a Certificate of Registration of Death (Form 14) which you need to give your funeral director.

A small number of registrations are chosen for review.  If this happens to you, the Registrar will explain why and give you an appointment to come back.  If you feel there are circumstances such as faith requirements, compassionate grounds or logistical reasons for avoiding this small delay in registering the death, you can apply for advance registration, speak to the Registrar or your funeral director who can advise on this.

Organ donation is possible if it is done within 48 hours of death – tell the doctor or hospital staff if this was something your loved one wished to do.

Bequeathing to medical science: If your loved one requested this, please phone your funeral director to discuss it.  You may be interested to go to the following link:

St. Andrew’s School of Medicine – bequests