How much is a copy of a death certificate UK?

When a person passes away in the United Kingdom, their death must be registered and a death certificate issued. The death certificate serves as the official record of the death and enables the deceased’s family to settle legal and financial matters.

Family members often need multiple copies of the death certificate when notifying government agencies, banks, insurance companies, and others about the death. But how much does an official copy of a death certificate cost in the UK?

Cost to Order Certified Copies from the General Register Office

In England and Wales, the General Register Office (GRO) holds records of all births, marriages, and deaths dating back to 1837.

To obtain an official death certificate copy from the GRO, you can expect to pay:

  • £11 per certified copy if you apply by post
  • £10 per certified copy if you apply online

These standard death certificate prices include postage and packing to mail the documents to a UK address.

The GRO allows you to order unlimited copies of a death certificate online or by post. There is no limit on how many you can request.

The GRO also offers a priority service for an additional £23. This guarantees your death certificate copy will be dispatched on the next working day after receipt of your order.

Cost From Local Register Offices

Alternatively, you can obtain death certificates from the local register office that issued the original certificate. There are register offices in each district across England and Wales.

The cost can vary slightly between local register offices but is usually:

  • £11 for each standard copy
  • £30-£50 for a same-day priority service

To find and contact your local register office, visit the GOV.UK website.

Just like with the GRO, local register offices will provide as many certified copies as needed.

Death Certificate Costs in Scotland

In Scotland, the National Records of Scotland office handles death registrations and certificates.

To receive a copy of a death certificate in Scotland, the fees are:

  • £15 per copy for standard service (dispatched within 15 working days)
  • £30 for a 3-day fast-track service
  • £50 for next-day priority service

These prices include standard postal delivery to any address in the UK.

As with England and Wales, there is no restriction on the number of death certificates you can order from National Records of Scotland.

Northern Ireland Death Certificate Fees

In Northern Ireland, the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) manages death registrations.

To get copies of a death certificate in Northern Ireland, the costs are:

  • £15 for each standard copy
  • £20 for an on-the-day premium service

GRONI provides next day dispatch as standard at no extra cost. Like other UK registry offices, you can request as many certified copies of the death certificate as needed.

Why Are Multiple Death Certificates Needed?

When a loved one dies, their surviving family must notify a number of authorities and financial institutions. Commonly, multiple death certificate copies are needed to:

  • Settle the deceased person’s estate
  • Claim life insurance payouts
  • Close bank accounts and credit cards
  • Notify investment companies
  • Cancel government benefits and entitlements
  • Change property records and utility bills
  • Transfer vehicle registration
  • Claim bereavement benefits
  • Settle outstanding taxes
  • Inform pension schemes

Many companies and government bodies will not accept photocopies of death certificates. They often require an original certified copy displaying the raised seal of the registry office for legal purposes.

It is advisable to purchase multiple death certificates upfront. Around 5-10 certified originals is typical depending on the complexity of the deceased’s estate and outstanding affairs.

How To Apply For A Death Certificate

To receive an official copy of a death certificate, you usually need to provide:

  • The full name of the deceased person
  • The date of death
  • The place of death
  • The full name of the person applying for the death certificate
  • A postal address for sending the certificate
  • A contact phone number

You will also need to pay the appropriate fee. Once the registry office verifies the information matches their records, they will issue certified copies of the death certificate.

The quickest and easiest way is to apply for death certificates online. Alternatively, you can download paper application forms to submit by post.

Here are links to apply for UK death certificates online:

Who Can Order A Death Certificate?

Death certificates are available to certain approved people only. Those eligible to apply include:

  • A spouse or civil partner of the deceased
  • Children of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased
  • Siblings of the deceased
  • A representative appointed to administer the estate
  • Any person who may have a claim arising from the death
  • A person authorized by the Registrar General

Proof of identification and your relationship to the deceased may be required.

If you are not a close relative of the deceased, you will likely need authorization from the Registrar General or executor to obtain copies of the death certificate.

Death Certificate Timescales

Once you have submitted an application and paid the fee, how long does it take to receive the death certificates?

England and Wales

  • Standard service from the GRO takes around 4-5 days
  • Priority service guarantees dispatch on the next working day
  • Local register office standard service is 3-5 days typically
  • Same-day or next-day services are available from local register offices for an additional fee


  • Standard turnaround is around 15 working days
  • 3-day fast-track service available
  • Next working day with priority service

Northern Ireland

  • Standard turnaround is 6-10 days
  • Premium service for guaranteed delivery the next working day

So in summary, you can expect to wait around 3-15 days typically to receive requested death certificates. Paying extra fees will shorten this for more urgent orders.

Ways To Verify A Death Certificate

Once you obtain the death certificates, how can you check they are genuine?

To verify a death certificate is authentic, look for:

  • A raised or textured seal from the registry office
  • A watermark or background pattern on the paper
  • High quality and dense paper stock
  • Signatures from the registrar
  • A serial number and unique reference code

Many organizations will also independently check the details against registry office records.

Visually inspect the certificates for evidence of tampering, alterations or damage. Any errors should necessitate replacement copies from the registry office.

Only original death certificates with a raised seal should be accepted − photocopies provide no guarantee of authenticity.

How Long Is A Death Certificate Valid In The UK?

Once issued, a UK death certificate remains valid indefinitely, with no expiry date.

The death certificate serves as the permanent legal record and proof of death. It does not expire over time.

Original copies with the raised seal always remain current. Even very old death certificates from decades past still constitute legal proof of death.

That said, very old death certificates may be subject to increased scrutiny as forgeries are more likely. But registry offices still hold records dating back over a century enabling checks against archived records.

Next Steps After Receiving The Death Certificates

Once you obtain the certified death certificates you need, the next steps typically include:

  • Notifying banks and financial institutions
  • Closing credit card accounts and direct debits
  • Settling outstanding bills and taxes
  • Cancelling benefits, insurance, and memberships
  • Applying for probate and executorship
  • Distributing the estate to beneficiaries
  • Transferring property deeds and vehicle registration
  • Claiming life insurance, pensions, and inheritance
  • Updating records held by government departments
  • Redirecting mail and correspondence
  • Informing utilities and service providers

The death certificates enable you to proceed with tying up legal, financial, and administrative loose ends.

Most organizations and agencies will accept photocopies along with an original certified copy. Retain the originals in a safe place in case further proof is ever needed.

Death Certificates For Genealogy Research

Beyond resolving administrative affairs, death certificates are also useful for ancestry research and family history.

They provide you with solid documentary evidence verifying dates and details:

  • Full legal name of the deceased
  • Date and cause of death
  • Age, birth date, and birthplace
  • Marital status and spouse details
  • Usual address
  • Occupation
  • Name of the informant who registered the death
  • Names of the deceased’s parents

Genealogists rely on death records alongside birth and marriage certificates to trace lineage and fill in gaps in the family tree.

Though restrictions apply, you can request historic death certificates from the GRO and other registries if you need them for ancestry research.


Death certificates are a vital part of administrative procedures following a person’s passing.

The cost to obtain certified copies ranges from £10-£15 per copy depending on where in the UK they are ordered from. Multiple originals are usually required to settle legal, financial and estate matters.

Turnaround times also vary between 3-15 working days typically. Paying extra fees can hasten this for more urgent requests.

Once obtained, the original death certificates serve as permanent legal proof of death and do not expire over time. They enable loved ones to tie up the necessary arrangements and proceed with closing accounts, transferring assets, and distributing inheritance.

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