Thu | Oct 6, 2022

Death registration: what you should know

Published:Monday | April 12, 2010 | 12:00 AM
There is nothing in the law that says a funeral must take place before six o'clock. - FILE

Death registration is facilitated by the Registrar General's Department (RGD). However, many persons are still unaware of the role they must play in the registration of deaths. Awareness on the input of family members is one of the many challenges faced by the RGD.

Knowing what to do and getting it done are the keys to having the death registered and obtaining a death certificate.

Not only is the certificate an official proof of a person's death, but it is a vital document which is needed to settle the deceased estates; should family members need it for transfer of land to claim insurance.

The ability to cope with the loss of a family member is somewhat difficult. However, registration should be initiated by the family of the deceased.


The following persons are eligible to register a death:

Occupier of house in which the person died;

Persons causing body to be buried or cremated;

Anyone including the nearest relative who was present at death;

Any relative in attendance during the last illness or residing in the same district of the deceased.

Deaths are classified under two categories: sudden and violent or natural causes. All deaths should be registered within five days of occurrence.

Sudden and Violent Death

In registering a sudden and violent death, one must first contact the nearest police station to report the event of the death. A post-mortem or autopsy is then conducted to determine the cause of death; the police officer at the post-mortem will issue the order for burial.

The order for burial (Burial Order) in the case of a sudden death, allows the family to bury the deceased but it is not proof of registration nor is it a death certificate. A certificate of order (Form D) should be requested from the police or the coroner's office. At this juncture, the Form D must be submitted to the RGD head office or any RGD regional officer, whichever is more accessible.

The family member will receive instruction from the RGD to visit the respective local district registrar (LDR) to provide information for the death registration, as well as sign as the informant. Once this is completed, the family can proceed to apply for a death certificate.

Death by natural cause

If the death occurred in a hospital, the doctor at the hospital who attended to the deceased at the time of death will issue a medical certificate of the cause of death. If the death occurred at home, the doctor who cared for the deceased up to six months before he/she died will also issue a medical certificate of the cause of death.

Once the medical certificate of the cause of death has been received, you may then take this document to the LDR who is stationed at the hospital or in the district where the death occurred. The LDR will register the death and issue the order for burial which enables the family to proceed with burial. Additionally, the family member is encouraged to apply for a death certificate.

It is important to note that if the person was not under a doctor's care up to six months prior to death; a post-mortem/autopsy must be done to determine the cause of death. You will be required to follow the procedures for sudden and violent death.

The RGD continues to encourage family members to take the necessary steps to have the death of their loved ones registered, and apply for a death certificate.

For further information you may visit our website at or contact us at 876-619-1260.