Registering a Death

Registering a Death

Why register a death?

It is always tragic when someone dies, and often the onset of grief following the death of a loved one means that issues like registering the death may be forgotten. It is important to register any death for a number of reasons. If their death is not officially registered, their identity could be misused. A death certificate is required by insurance and pension companies if a payment is to be made. What’s more, under acts of parliament dating back as far as 1863, it is illegal not to register a death.

All deaths that occur in Ireland must be registered, in the Registrars district in which the death happened, as soon as possible. The register of deaths records all deaths that occur in the country, including those of foreign nationals who die in Ireland. Normally, as soon as possible means no later than five days after the death, except where the death has been referred to the Coroner. The five day period may be extended to fourteen days if the Registrar for Deaths is notified in writing of the death and supplied with a medical certificate of the cause of death.

As part of the modernisation programme at the General Register Office, the electronic registration of deaths commenced in July 2003.

The cost of a death certificate is 6.98 euro and new style certificates are being issued for the years from 1966 on.

Who should register a death?

What details are required for registration?

When you register a death, the registrar will ask for certain personal details about the deceased. These include:

If the person who has died was a wife or widow, you will also be asked for the full occupation of her husband, whether alive or dead. If the deceased was a child, you will be asked for the father’s occupation. If the father and mother were not married, then the mother’s occupation will suffice.

As well as the personal details, you will have to bring with you a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death signed by a registered medical practitioner (any doctor) who treated the deceased within 28 days before the death.

Often, especially if the person died suddenly, they will not have seen a doctor in the previous month. In these circumstances, the death must be referred to the local county or city coroner. Even if the person had seen a doctor in the month before death, their death will have to be referred to the coroner if they died in an accident, or in violent or mysterious circumstances. If this is the case, the Gardai may investigate the surroundings of the death. They do this in order to rule out criminal activity, but also because they are officers of the coroner, whose duty is to discover all the facts of the death for the coroner.

Where must the death be registered?

You must register the death with the appropriate Registrar of Deaths. The death should be registered with the Registrar for the area in which the death took place. For example, if a person dies in Cork, their death must be registered there, even if they normally lived in Dublin. If you have difficulty locating the appropriate Registrar, you should contact the Superintendent Registrar’s office for the region where the death happened. These offices are usually housed in local Health Board buildings, and their telephone numbers are listed below:


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