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What to do after a death

This advice applies to Scotland

This information applies to Scotland only.

Coronavirus – registering a death and attending funerals

Registering a death in person might not be possible because local Registrars' offices are not open as usual. Councils are making special arrangements to register deaths by email or telephone.  

Check your local council website for details. Find your local council on mygov.scot.  

Cremations and funerals

Cremations, burials and funeral services are going ahead. Funeral directors and crematoriums will take extra steps to stop the spread of coronavirus and protect you and their staff. 

The law says that only immediate family members can leave their homes to go to a funeral service. If there are no family members, friends can go. Staff and people attending must stay two metres apart unless they're from the same household. 

There's guidance for funeral services on the Scottish government website. The funeral director will explain what this means for you. 

Although you might not be able to have the kind of service you had planned it's important not to delay a cremation or funeral. 

Some of the rules around arranging a cremation have been relaxed. For example, another relative can arrange the cremation if the closest relative isn't able to. The crematorium or funeral director can explain what to do. 

More bereavement advice and support

Get more resources and support for bereavement from the Good Grief Trust. 

PETAL Support offers free counselling for people over 12 years old who have experienced bereavement due to COVID-19.

PETAL Support (Scotland)
8 Barrack Street
Hamilton
ML3 0DG

Tel: 01698 324502 (Monday to Thursday from 9.00am to 5.00pm; Friday from 9.00am to 4.00pm)
Website: www.petalsupport.com

Scottish Government guide

'What to do after a death in Scotland' gives practical advice at a time of bereavement. It's available on the Scottish Government website as web pages or a downloadable PDF booklet.

Booklet date: 11th edition revised March 2017
Booklet size: 80 pages

Paper copies:

The Scottish Government
Civil Law Division
Area 2W, St Andrew’s House
Regent Road
EDINBURGH
EH1 3DG

Tel: 0131 244 3581

Leaflet front cover

Tell Us Once

Your local authority may be part of a service called Tell Us Once. The service allows you to report the death of someone just once and a number of government departments are all then informed of the death. The UK government departments that are informed of the death include DVLA, the Passport Service, the Pension Service and HM Revenue and Customs. Check if your local authority provides this for you. You can find out more about Tell Us Once on the UK government website.

Bereavement support and advice

You can find a useful list of bereavement support and advice services in Scotland on the Scottish Government website.

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