Registering a death
It is a legal requirement in Ireland that every death that takes place in the State must be recorded and registered. Records of deaths in Ireland are held in the General Register Office, which is the central civil repository for records relating to Births, Marriages and Deaths in Ireland. You can apply for a copy of a death certificate to any Registrar of Births, Marriages and Death or to the General Register Office.
The Civil Registration Act 2004 changed some of the rules about registering a death. These changes took effect in December 2005.
A death can be registered in the office of any Registrar of Births, Marriages and Death, irrespective of where the death occurs. 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.
Deaths must be registered as soon as possible after the death and no later than 3 months. It is usually registered by the next of kin. Alternatively, it may be registered by a person who was present during the death or final illness of the deceased, or has knowledge of the required particulars. Further information on who can register the death is available on the General Register Office website.
There is no charge to register a death.
Fees are charged for a copy of a death certificate.
A certificate is issued for social welfare purposes at a reduced cost. Evidence it is for social welfare purposes is required, such as a note from the Department of Social Protection.
Since 19 December 2016, at the time of registration there is no charge for a death certificate if the deceased was less than 12 months of age on the date of death.
The fees charged for a certificate are as follows:
- €20 for a full standard certificate
- €1 for a copy for social welfare purposes (letter from Department of Social Protection required)
- €4 for an uncertified copy of an entry in the Register
- €10 to have a certificate authenticated (only available from the General Register Office)
How to apply
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.
Prior to inquest (or whilst awaiting the postmortem report) the Coroner will provide on request an Interim Certificate of the Fact of Death. (This may be acceptable to banks, insurance companies and other institutions but you should check with the institutions for their requirements).
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.