Apply for a death certificate

Information about registration of a death and applying for a death certificate.

The registration of all deaths are compulsory. The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act requires a person, usually the funeral director, to notify the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 14 days from the date of the funeral service.

The doctor who was responsible for the medical care of a person before their death or who examines the deceased person after death, must complete and sign a medical certificate cause of death. This certificate must be issued within 48 hours after the person's death and given to the funeral director or persons arranging the funeral service. The doctor is not required to give this notice of the cause of death in circumstances in which the death is reported to the State Coroner.

In most cases the funeral director orders a death certificate on behalf of the family or persons representing the deceased at the time of registering the death. Once registered, the Registry sends the death certificate to the funeral director for forwarding. At any time after the death is registered an eligible applicant can apply directly to the Registry or the nearest courthouse for a death certificate to be issued.

Overseas deaths

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Where a person dies outside of Australia the death should be formally registered in the country where it occurred and the death certificate obtained from the registering authority of that country

However, under Section 40 of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1998 (Act), if a person dies outside the Commonwealth (of Australia) and the person

  1. is domiciled or ordinarily resident in the State; or
  2. leaves property in the State,

the death may be registered under this Act.

This does not place a mandatory requirement on the Registrar or any other person to register deaths occurring outside Australia nor is it intended to duplicate death registration processes of overseas countries or to provide for registration of deaths of persons who were living overseas but were born or lived in Western Australia at some previous time.

From time to time situations may arise where the overseas death certificate may not be accepted in  Western Australia when dealing with the estate of the deceased. In these situations please contact the Registry for further advice.

Coroners

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If the death is subject to a coronial inquiry, the death will still be registered. However, until such time as the State Coroner completes their inquiry the cause of death will not be stated. This is called an "incomplete" death registration. If required, a death certificate can be issued at this stage.

At the completion of their inquiry the State Coroner will advise the Registry of the cause of death details to be added to the death registration. A "complete" death certificate may then be issued by the Registry to the funeral director if previously ordered or an eligible applicant can apply directly to the Registry or a Court for a death certificate.

For more information visit the Office of the State Coroner website.

Apply for a death certificate

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You can apply for a certified death certificate if the death is registered in Western Australia. If the event occurred in another State or Territory please contact the relevant Registry Office.

Who can apply for a death certificate?

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Access Type Applicant Specific Requirements
Historical Anyone (must be 16 years or over) For deaths 30 years old or more
Family Current spouse (including de facto)
Parent
Child
Restricted, unless the applicant can provide:
  • Evidence of relationship eg named on death certificate, copy of marriage certificate or
  • Evidence of defacto relationship eg evidence of same address, joint bank accounts, joint utility accounts
Non-parental custodian or guardian Document establishing legal custody or guardianship.
Other relative
Former spouse or defacto
Restricted, unless the applicant can provide:
  • Written authority from a person entitled to the certificate as identified in this policy document
  • Evidence that the certificate is required for some legal right or entitlement
  • Evidence that there is no other living relative.
Deceased Estate Executor or Administrator
Public Trustee
Application must be on business letterhead, or must show evidence of applicant's executor, administrator or trustee status.
Welfare Government or non-Government Welfare Agency Application must be on business letterhead and must be acting in the interests of or with the written authority of the next of kin of the person named in the certificate.
Court - State or Federal   Application must be on Court letterhead or a Court order provided.
Law Enforcement Any Government body dealing in law enforcement eg Police, Anti-Corruption Commission, Courts etc. Application must be on business letterhead and must be made in:
  • pursuance of an investigation or
  • preparation of a prosecution or
  • pursuant to a valid warrant or Court order.
Does not include debt collectors or private investigators.
Medical Medical organisations or government body requiring to contact persons with a potentially life threatening medical condition. Applications must be made on business letterhead and referred to the Registrar for consideration.
For general medical research enquiries refer to Registrar for consideration.
Government Bodies - Statutory Access Government body having right of access under Federal or State legislation, eg Child Support Agency, Centrelink, Department of Communities. Application must be on business letterhead or approved form eg Child Support Agency verification form.
Solicitor   Application must be on business letterhead and Solicitor must be acting for a person entitled to access under 'Family' or 'Deceased Estate'.
Funeral Director   Funeral Director applications must be received with the death registration form or within thee months following the deceased's date of death.  Applications after this time will be treated under 'Other Agent'.
Other Agent (including Consulates) Any person with written authority from the person named in the certificate or a person entitled to the certificate as identified in this policy document Identification documents of the person named in the certificate or other person entitled to the certificate as stated under ‘Family’.
Power of Attorney Documentary evidence of Power of Attorney required:
  • must be referred to Manager to verify if Power of Attorney extends beyond the person’s property and/or financial affairs.
  • Before accepting payment Courthouses must forward certificate applications with a copy of the accompanying Power of Attorney evidence to the Manager for consideration.
Benefit Credit companies, Superannuation funds, Trust funds, Banks, Life insurance funds Restricted, unless the applicant can provide:
  • Application must be on business letterhead and provide written authority from a person entitled to the certificate as identified in this policy document.
  • If consent is not available, only confirmation of the following information will be provided:
    • Full name of deceased
    • Place of death
    • Date of death
    • Registration number
    • Date of birth/age
    • Place of birth
    • Gender

Current as at 24 January 2018 and subject to change without notice.

Forms and fees

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Forms

Fees

The fees for applying for a death certificate:

  • $50 - Certified Death Certificate
  • $35 - Reduced Fee Death Certificate (+75 yrs. old)
  • $20 - Uncertified copy of a Death Registration (deaths prior to 1983)
  • $35 - Priority Service (not payable when applying in person)

The following payment methods are accepted:

  • Credit Card - MasterCard or Visa only
  • EFTPOS Debit Card or Cash - When paying in person
  • Cheque or money order - Payable to Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. When paying at a Western Australian court payable to the Department of Justice
  • Overseas applicants - $AUD via credit card (MasterCard or Visa only) or international money order or bank draft payable to Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Identification that you need

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Applicants are required to provide at least three forms of evidence-of-identity documents before being eligible to receive certificates.

One from List 1, 2 and 3. At least one containing a photograph

or

One from List 1 and two from List 2. At least one containing a photograph

or

Two from List 2 and one from List 3. At least one containing a signature.

List 1 – Link between photo and signature

  • Australian driver’s licence
  • Australian Passport
  • Australian Firearm Licence
  • Defence Force/Police Id Card
  • Australian Citizenship Certificate (with evidence of residential status)
  • Western Australian Photo Card, Over 18 or Proof of Identity Card
  • Australian learner driver’s permit card

List 2 – Evidence of operating in the community

  • A financial institution Debit or Credit card
  • Document of identity issued by the Passport Office
  • Centrelink/Veterans Affairs Entitlement Card
  • Birth Certificates (birth extracts are not accepted)
  • Medicare Card
  • Naturalisation, citizenship or immigration papers issued by the Department of Home Affairs
  • Australian Security or Crowd Control Licence
  • Student Identity Document or Statement of Enrolment

List 3 – Proof of residency

  • Drivers licence renewal notice
  • Financial institution statement less than 6 months old
  • Motor vehicle registration
  • Property Lease or Tenancy Agreement
  • Shire/Water rates notice
  • Student Report or Certificate less than 12 months old
  • Utility Account less than 6 months old

For overseas applicants, the Registry will consider overseas equivalent evidence-of-identity documents.

Where to apply

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Certificate applications can be submitted:

In person

At the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Perth or at any court location in Albany, Armadale, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Carnarvon, Collie, Derby, Esperance, Fremantle, Geraldton, Joondalup, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Katanning, Kununurra, Mandurah, Manjimup, Merredin, Midland, Morra, Narrogin, Northam, Rockingham and South Hedland.

By post

Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
PO Box 7720
Cloisters Square
PERTH WA 6850

By email

Email your completed and signed application and all other required documentation to bdm@justice.wa.gov.au

Page reviewed 25 May 2020
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