Registering a Death

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All deaths that occur in Northern Ireland must be registered at an office of the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Northern Ireland.

When a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been issued, the death must be registered within five days to allow the funeral arrangements to be made.

In cases referred to the Coroner, the death can only be registered after the Registrar has received the necessary certificate from the Coroner. The Registrar’s Office will then contact a relative of the deceased and ask them to call and register the death.


Who can register a death?

If they have the necessary documents and information (see below), any of these people can register a death:

  • Any relative of the deceased.
  • A person taking care of the funeral arrangements.
  • The executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate.
  • A person living in or responsible for a house, lodgings or apartments where the death occurred.
  • A person finding or a person taking charge of the body.

Documents and information you will need

  • The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (Death Certificate) signed by the doctor.
  • Full name, surname and usual address of the deceased.
  • Date and place of death.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • Marital status (single, married, widowed or divorced).
  • Occupation of the deceased (if the deceased was a wife or widow, the full name and occupation of her husband or deceased husband).
  • If the deceased was a child, the full name and occupation of the father or, where the parents are not married, the full name and occupation of the mother.
  • Maiden name (if the deceased was a woman who had married and changed her surname).
  • The name and address of the deceased’s GP.
  • Details of any pension apart from a state pension that the deceased may have held.

What the registrar will give you

  • A Form GRO 21 giving permission for the body to be buried or for an application for cremation to be made.
  • A certificate of Registration of Death (Form 36/BD8), issued for social security purposes if the deceased received a state pension or benefits.

There is no cost for registering a death, but it is recommended that you buy a number of certified copies of the certificate of Registration of Death that the Registrar gives you. This is because certain organisations will require one as proof of death and will not accept a photocopy.

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