Registering the death


The registration of a death should always take place as soon as possible and is usually carried out by a relative of the person who has died. If no relative is available then the registration can be carried out by any person who is present at the death, the occupier of the premises where the death occurred, or the person accepting responsibility for arranging the funeral. Whilst the death needs to be registered at a Registrar’s Office within five days, there is no need to rush there the next morning. Take your time to collect yourself and gather all the documents and information required, as this will make the process much easier for you.

The death should be registered in the area where it occurred, but if you cannot get to a Registrar’s Office in that area, you can register it at one of your choice, this is called Registry by Proxy or declaration. The various certificates will then be forwarded to the Registrar where the death occurred.

The Registrar will need the following details about the person who has died:

  • The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death

  • Full name and any previous names used

  • Date and place of death

  • Date and place of birth

  • Occupation

  • Last address

  • If married, full name, date of birth and occupation of the surviving spouse

  • If they were in receipt of any state pension or benefits

And the following documents would be of help:

  • The NHS medical card of the person who has died (if available)

  • The Birth certificate of the person who has died

  • The Marriage or civil partnership certificate of the person who has died (if applicable)

  • National Insurance Number

Upon receipt of all these documents the Registrar will issue you with the following Certificates, allowing you to start arranging the funeral and sorting out the affairs of the person who has died.


“Tell us once” is a free service provided by the Registrar’s Office that offers families assistance in informing local and central government departments of your loved ones death at a difficult time.

With your permission relevant Local Council Services and Central Government Departments will be informed of the bereavement including: Department of Work and Pensions, Passport Office, Driving Licence and War Pensions.

You will need the deceased National Insurance number (if known) and the relevant documents (Passport, Driving Licence, Bus Pass, Blue Badge for example) if all the information is not available at the time of your appointment with the Registrar they will explain how to access the service from your home using a reference number and a free phone telephone contact service with the Department of Work and Pensions. This service is available up to 28 days following the registration.

Certificate for Burial or Cremation also known as the ‘green form’

This certificate is free of charge and needs to be given to the funeral director as soon as possible, as it gives permission for the person who has died to be buried or cremated. In cases where the coroner is involved, this certificate may not be issued. Instead a separate certificate will be issued directly to the Funeral Director.

A Death Certificate (know as a certified copy of the death) is issued as legal proof of the death and is required to settle the affairs and estate of the person who has died. This is the only form requiring a payment to be made and it is recommended that you purchase several copies, as you will need one each time you deal with a bank, pension company, insurer or any other organisation relating to the financial affairs of the person who has died. Companies such as these will always require an original, not a photocopy of the death certificate, although they will almost certainly return it, if you prefer to use it more than once.


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