How to register a death
When someone dies, their death needs to be registered with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. This has to be done within five days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and eight days in Scotland. These time frames can be extended by another nine days by agreement with the registrar if a medical certificate has been issued. If the death has been reported to the coroner, then the death cannot be registered until the investigation is finished.
Obtaining a medical certificate
For a death to be formally registered, you will need to obtain a medical certificate. If the death occurred in hospital, a doctor will issue the certificate, if death occurs at home, the deceased’s GP should be called as soon as possible; they will be able to issue a certificate.
Who can register a death?
Anyone present at the death can register it, as can any relative present during the person’s last illness or who lives in the register office district, an owner or occupier of the building where death occurred if they were aware of the death, or the person arranging the funeral (but not the funeral director).
Details required by the registrar
You will need to take the medical certificate with you when you have your appointment with the registrar. If possible you should also take their NHS medical card, birth and marriage certificates.
The registrar will want to know the date and place of death, the deceased’s full name (including maiden name) their last address, date and place of birth, and occupation. If they were married at the time of their death, the registrar will need the date of birth of their husband or wife or civil partner. If their husband or wife or civil partner has died, they will require their full name.
Forms provided by the registrar
The registrar will provide a green certificate to give to the funeral director to enable the burial or cremation to go ahead. They will also provide a form that goes to the Department for Work and Pensions so that the person’s pension and other benefits can be dealt with.
The registrar will provide you with the death certificate. In order for the executor to be able to deal with the person’s will, obtain Probate and administer the estate you may need several copies of the certificate, so it is worth asking for these at the outset.