When a person dies you need to register the death within 5 days, unless the death has been reported to a coroner in which case you can’t register the death until the coroner gives permission.
You can use the Register a death tool on the government website if you are unsure what steps need to be taken, it provides useful direction on what you need to do.
Who can register a death?
A relative of the deceased should register the death, if there is not a living relative, a relative cannot be found, or a relative for whatever reason is unable to register the death, someone else can do it if:
- They were present at the time of death
- They are an administrator from the hospital (if they died in a hospital)
- They are in charge of arranging the funeral
Obtain the medical certificate
In order to register the death, you will need a medical certificate, the certificate will include the name and age of the deceased as well as noting the date, place and cause of death.
If the person died in a hospital, hospice or care home the administrative staff will take the appropriate steps to provide the medical certificate.
If the person dies at home, the medical certificate will be provided by the GP.
Find a Register office
If possible, you should register the death at the register office in the area that the person has died, this is because you will be given the documents on the same day. If this is not possible you can register the death at any register office, but the documents will be sent to the office in the area the deceased died before they are issued to you, this means you will have to wait longer to receive them.
You can find a register office on the government website, you may need to make an appointment.
You can only register the death once you have received the signed medical certificate, you will need to take this with you to the register office. You will also need if available, the deceased’s:
- birth certificate
- driving licence
- NHS medical card or number
- marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Council tax bill
- Proof of their address. (eg. A Bill)
You should bring proof of I.D and proof of address for yourself if possible.
The registrar will ask you for,
- The deceased’s full name and any other names they previously used (e.g. maiden name etc.)
- their date and place of birth
- their date and place of death
- their last address
- Their occupation or most recent occupation
- what benefits, including State Pension, they were receiving if any
- the name, occupation, and date of birth of their spouse or civil partner (surviving or deceased)
What you will receive when you register the death
Upon registering the death, you will receive a death certificate for which there is a charge. If you believe the deceased’s estate will be subject to probate it is recommended that you purchase more than one copy so that you can contact more than one institution at once, therefore speeding up the process. It can be more expensive to buy more death certificates later on.
You will also receive
- A certificate for burial or cremation also known as the Green Form this gives permission for burial or an application for cremation
- A certificate of registration of Death (this is called Form BD8) – if the Deceased was receiving a state pension or benefits this form will need to be completed and returned using the pre-addressed envelope that is provided. If you used the Tell us once service, you will not need to do this step.