When someone dies, the death must be registered with the local registrar.
Below are some questions and answers you may have about registering a death that will hopefully make the registration process a little easier. If your question is not answered, please contact us and we will be happy to offer any advice and assistance we can.
How do I register a death?
It is a legal requirement that a death is registered within 5 days of its occurrence. However, this period can be extended under certain circumstances.
You can register at the Register Office in the district where the death occurred, or you can go to any Register Office in England and Wales and make a declaration of the particulars required. However, if you opt for a declaration, there will be a slight delay in receiving certificates and paperwork, as these will be posted from the receiving Register Office.
In certain circumstances, a death will have to be referred to a Coroner who may decide one of three things:
- That no action is necessary
- To hold a post-mortem examination. Here, the cause of death will be notified directly to the Registrar. (This may delay registration)
- To hold an inquest
The Coroners Office, or the Registrar will advise you what to do in these circumstances.
Do I have to make an appointment?
Yes. An appointment is required to register a death.
For office hours visit our Facilities and opening hours webpage.
A registrar will be available outside of these hours for urgent matters by calling 07813 094234.
Who can register the death?
The following people may register a death:
- A relative or civil partner of the deceased
- A person present at the death
- Someone who lives at the premises where the person died
- A person arranging the funeral (this does not mean the undertaker)
What will the registrar need to know?
It may help you to prepare for your visit to know that the Registrar will require the following information:
- The medical certificate of cause of death from the doctor, if a coroner is not involved
- The date and place of death
- The full name of the deceased (and maiden surname if appropriate)
- The date and place of birth of the deceased (a birth certificate would be helpful)
- The deceased's occupation, and the full name and occupation of their spouse or civil partner
- The deceased's usual home address
- Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension from public funds
- The date of birth of the deceased's spouse or civil partner, if alive
- The NHS medical card number for the deceased. However, please do not delay registration if this is not available
The Registrar will ask you some questions to obtain the above information and will then print the details for you to check. It is most important that this document is checked carefully, as mistakes can easily be rectified at this point. Once the register is signed the Registrar will not always be able to correct any errors locally and may have to apply to the Registrar General for authority to correct.
What will I be issued with?
You will be issued with the following forms free of charge:
- A green form for the funeral director. This is required in order to make the funeral arrangements. If the death was referred to the Coroner other procedures may apply.
- A white form for State Benefits and pensions purposes. This will sort out any pensions and benefits the deceased or his/her dependants were entitled to or receiving.
At any time during or after the death registration, you may purchase certified copies of the register entry. Certificates issued at the time of registration are £4 each. This fee rises to £7 immediately after the day of registration and to £10 one month after the register has been filled and closed. Therefore, it is worthwhile considering how many certificates you may need early on in order to minimise the costs.
Certificates are Crown Copyright and should not be photocopied for official purposes.
The following is a guide to your possible needs:
- Building Societies
- Funeral Directors
- Pension Companies
- Premium Bonds and National Savings
- Life Insurance/Assurance
- Contracts and Agreements
- Council tax
- Probate and Wills
- Inland Revenue
- Travel Bookings
- Council Housing
Tell Us Once
When someone has died, there are lots of things that need to be done, at a time when you probably least feel like doing them. One of these is contacting government departments and local council services that need to be told.
'Tell Us Once' is a service where we help you give the information to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), they then pass it on to a number of other government departments and local authority services.
Bereaved families are offered this services at the register office during the appointment.
Further information is available on the Tell Us Once webpage.