Registering a Death

How to register a death in Australia

Last updated: 29 November 2016

In Australia, the funeral director usually completes and files the paperwork necessary to register a death on your behalf. If your family or friends are planning to make your own arrangements for a loved one’s funeral, you will still need to register their death.

Each state in Australia has its own guidelines which tell you how to go about registering a death. You will need to complete a death registration form, which are available from your local Births, Deaths and Marriages office, funeral director or remote health centre.

A doctor’s certificate of death confirms the medical cause of death and is issued soon after a person has died by the GP or medic who attended. You will need to supply this and the following information when you register a loved one’s death:

  • The full name of your loved one and any alias names they used
  • Their assigned gender
  • The date and place of their birth
  • The date and place of their death
  • Their last residential address
  • The details, if their death was reported to a coroner
  • Details about their parents, any marriages or de facto relationships and children
  • The date and place of the burial or cremation

If your loved one was referred to a coroner for an exam confirming cause of death, you may need to contact your local registry to obtain an interim death certificate. This temporary proof of death document can be used if the coroner’s investigation is likely to take some time and you need to begin settling your loved one’s estate.

The following states each have these additional guidelines, which tell you more about registering a death. If your loved one died overseas but their death needs to be registered in Australia, you will need to contact the registry in the state where they lived or owned property.

  • Deaths in the Northern Territory must be registered within seven days of a burial or cremation, either by a funeral director, local health worker, or the person who arranges the disposal of the remains. There is no fee for registering the death, but death certificates are not issued automatically and you will need to apply separately to receive one.
  • For deaths in Queensland, funeral directors have access to the state’s eDeath registration system online, but you will need to contact the state authority for more information about the registration process.
  • Deaths in Victoria must be registered with the person responsible for the disposal of the remains submitting a formal notification to the authority. In most cases, this is the funeral director. If you are making your own arrangements, you should contact the registry for more details.
  • Deaths in New South Wales are generally registered by the funeral director, but can be registered by next of kin or a family member. You will need to contact the registry and apply for a death registration form. You’ll need to supply the medical certificate of death, or coroner’s order advising on the disposal of the body, along with your loved one’s details.
  • Deaths in South Australia are usually registered by the funeral director. The registry can be contacted on (Adelaide)131 882.
  • Deaths in Western Australia must be registered within 14 days of your loved one’s death. In most cases, this is done by the funeral director, so you will need to contact the Registry and make enquiries if you plan to make your own funeral arrangements.
  • Deaths in Tasmania are generally registered by the funeral director or, in the case of an accident, suspicious death or a death at home, the coroner’s office. You will need to contact the registry and make enquiries if you are planning your own funeral arrangements.