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Funeral Services

Registering a death

When someone dies, you will need to register the death. Once the death has been registered, you will be given all of the paperwork required to arrange the funeral. If you are unsure about the process of registering a death in the UK, we will explain everything you need to know.

How to register a death in the UK

Follow this step-by step guide to find out how to register a death in the UK:


 

How long do you have to register a death?

When registering a death, the time limit depends on where you are in the UK:

  • If you're in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you will have five days
  • If you're in Scotland, you will have up to eight days

Learn more about registering a death in Scotland

The Death Certificate will be issued at your appointment and you will be able to purchase additional copies at your local register office.

If you purchase copies at a later date, they are sent after 14 working days. Should you require a copy sooner than this, you can use the priority service for £23.40 and it will be sent the next working day.


Where to register a death

You will need to find a register office closest to where the person died and make an appointment to register the death. Try and call the register office as soon as you can, as they can get busy very quickly.

Find a register office and make an appointment


Who can register a death?

A death is typically registered by a close relative of the person who has died. However, if no relatives are available, there are only certain people who can register a death. This includes:

  • 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 to register a death with the local registrar, it's important to provide them with as much information about the deceased as possible. The process of registering a death should take approximately 30 minutes.

You will need to take the following documents with you:

  • 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

You don't need to have all of the above paperwork to register a death, so don’t worry if it's not all available. The most important piece of paperwork is the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. Without this, you will not be able to register the death.

If you have any questions about the documents needed to register a death, please contact your local Funeral Director for further advice and support.

You will also need to provide the registrar with the following information:

  • 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 happens after registering a death?

After registering a death, you will be given a Certificate of Registration of Death and a number of other documents. These vary depending on where you are in the UK.

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

Scotland

  • 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

What is a Death Certificate?

A Death Certificate is an official notification issued by a registrar declaring that a death has occurred.

What do you need a Death Certificate for?

You'll need the Death Certificate to manage the estate of the person who has died. It's a statutory certificate issued at the time in which a person taking responsibility for the funeral arrangements registers the death.

The certificate offers the name and surname of the deceased, their sex, age, birth details, occupation, the cause of death, when and where the person died, a description and residence of the informant, when the death was registered and the signature of the registrar.

When registering a death, it is important to ask for additional copies of the Death Certificate as you may need to give them to insurance, bank or pension companies. You may also be required to give copies to the executor or administrator of the Will who is dealing with the property and finances of the person who has passed away.

How much is a Death Certificate?

The cost of a Death Certificate varies across the UK. Each certified copy will cost £11.00 in England and Wales, £8.00 in Northern Ireland and £10.00 in Scotland.

How to get a copy of a Death Certificate

We recommend buying additional Death Certificates for when you’re sorting out your loved one’s affairs and finances. The process of dealing with their estate and finances can sometimes be quicker if you have more than one copy of their Death Certificate.

If you do not purchase additional copies at the register office, you can get copies from the General Register Office (England and Wales), the General Register Office Northern Ireland or National Records Scotland at a later date.

Please be aware that photocopies of a Death Certificate are not typically accepted by legal, financial or insurance companies.

Who can collect a Death Certificate?

The following people can register a death which means they are allowed to collect the Death Certificate:

  • A relative
  • Someone who was with the person when they died
  • Someone who lives at the address where the person died
  • Someone who is arranging the funeral, but not the funeral director

Notifying organisations after registering a death

The Tell Us Once service will allow you to notify a person's death to various government departments at the same time. Please note, the service isn't available everywhere in the UK.

When you register a death, the registrar will:

  • Let you know if the service is available in your area
  • Give you the phone number
  • Give you a unique reference number to use the Tell Us Once service online or by phone

Tell Us Once will notify:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Passport Office
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • The local council
  • Veterans UK

Read our full guide on who to notify after a death.


What happens 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. We will be able to help you should a coroner become involved. If you would like more information about how to register a death, please contact your local Funeral Director today.

Advice and support when someone dies

If someone has passed away, please contact our 24/7 support team as soon as you can. We are here to guide you every step of the way.

0800 456 1047

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