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Registering a Death        

In England, you need to register a death within 5 days. To do this, it is best to go to the Register Office in the district in which the person has died. If you register the death elsewhere, it may take longer to obtain the necessary documents and possibly delay the funeral arrangements.

Registering a death takes about half an hour but you may need to make an appointment beforehand. Most deaths are registered by a relative, but the registrar will allow registration by other people if no relatives are available.

  Who can register a death?

If a person has died in a house or hospital, the death can be registered by:
  • A relative.
  • Someone present at the death.
  • An occupant of the house.
  • An official from the hospital.
  • The person making arrangements with the funeral directors.
Deaths that occurred elsewhere can be registered by:
  • A relative.
  • Someone present at the death.
  • The person who found the body.
  • The person in charge of the body.
  • The person making arrangements with the funeral directors.
  Documents you will need to take when registering a death
  • Medical certificate of the cause of death (signed by a doctor).
  • Birth certificate, if available.
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificates, if available.
  • NHS medical card, if available.
  Information you will need to take when registering a death
  • Information you will need to take when registering a death
  • The deceased’s full name at the time of death.
  • Any names used previously, including maiden surname.
  • The deceased’s date and place of birth (town and county if born in the UK. Country if born abroad).
  • The deceased’s last address.
  • The deceased’s occupation, if applicable.
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving spouse or partner.
  • Was the deceased receiving a state pension or any other state benefit?
  What you will receive

If a post-mortem is not being held, the registrar will issue you with:

A certificate for Burial or Cremation, giving permission for the body to be buried or for you to apply for cremation.

A Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8) for social security purposes, if the deceased was receiving a state pension or benefits.

At the time of registering the death, you will be able to buy one or more Death Certificates. It is a good idea to buy more than one as a number of people and organisations will need to see an original certificate as proof of death. More than likely a certificate will have to be sent away, resulting in delays in providing others with this proof if you do not have further certificates available. The price of death certificates varies between Local Authorities but is in the region of £3.50 to £5 when purchased at registration. Once the deposited register is held with the Superintendent Registrar the fee for additional certificates is in the region of £7. The death certificate(s) will be needed by the Executor.

The Registrar will also give you a booklet called ‘What to do after a Death’, which provides advice on probate and other administrative tasks.


If the death is unclear, sudden or suspicious, the doctor, hospital or registrar will report the death to the coroner. The coroner must then decide if there should be further investigation. In this case, the registrar cannot register the death until the coroner’s decision has been made.

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