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In this guide we will cover:

When and where to register a death 

You must register the death within five days, or eight days if you live in Scotland. In order to do this, you will need to find a register office in the area where the person died, which might mean making an appointment first.

Find a register office and make an appointment


Who can register a death?

The death is typically registered by a relative of the person who has died, however, if no relatives are available, the following people can also complete the registration:

    • Any person present when the person died
    • A person who lives in the house where the person died
    • The person arranging the funeral, but not a funeral director


What do you need to register a death?

Once you have made an appointment with the local registrar, you will be required to take the following information with you:

    • The full name of the person who died
    • Their full home address
    • Their date and place of birth
    • Details of where and when the person died
    • Their occupation, if applicable
    • If they were receiving any benefits, including pensions or allowance from public funds
    • The name, occupation and date of birth of their spouse or civil partner, if applicable


What paperwork will you need?

If available, but don't worry if not, take the person's: 

    • Medical Certificate of Cause of Death - signed by a doctor
    • Birth Certificate
    • Council Tax bill
    • Driving License
    • Passport
    • Marriage/Civil Partnership Certificate, if applicable
    • NHS Medical Card
    • Proof of address


Don’t worry if all of this paperwork isn’t available, it’s not always essential to have everything. Please contact our caring professionals if you have any concerns before your meeting with the registrar.

Download our step-by-step checklist which includes all of this useful information



What will happen next?

Once you have provided all the required paperwork and information, the registrar will give you the following:

England and Wales

    • Green Certificate for burial or cremation
    • Certificate of Registration of Death - You may need to fill this in and send it to the social security office for the area where the person died. If this is the case, the form will come with a pre-paid envelope so you know where to send it.
    • Death Certificate - This will require a small fee and may be needed for legal or financial purposes.


    • Certificate of Registration of Death
    • Registration or Notification of Death – You will need this to deal with the person’s affairs if they were getting a pension or benefits
    • Death Certificate

Northern Ireland

    • GRO21 form – This will give permission for the funeral to take place
    • Certificate of Registration of Death
    • Death Certificate

We recommend buying additional Death Certificates for when you’re sorting out your loved one’s affairs and finances. 


What if a coroner is involved?

When a loved one sadly dies suddenly or unexpectedly, a coroner or procurator fiscal may be called to investigate the death. It is their duty to identify how, when and where the person died for official records, as well as for giving some level of understanding to friends and family of the deceased.

If this is the case, the death must be reported by the doctor, hospital or registrar to the coroner, or procurator fiscal in Scotland.

Unfortunately, this may delay your funeral plans as a post-mortem or inquest will usually take place. Dignity’s support and advice team will be able to help you should a coroner become involved.



Bringing your loved one into our care


Medical Certificate of Cause of Death