Registering A Death2020-03-09T09:39:52+00:00

Registering a Death

When & Where to Register a Death?

One of the first things that needs to happen when someone has died is for the death to be registered. This process will depend on the location and nature of the death. The death must be registered by the registrar:

  • Within 5 days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Within 8 days in Scotland

In England and Wales, it is possible to delay registration for a further 9 days provided that the registrar receives written confirmation that the medical cause of death certificate has been signed by a doctor.

Delays due to the involvement of the coroner or procurator fiscal are not usually  counted within these time frames.

The registration should be made in the district in which the death occurred in England unless the death has occurred in a county that has adopted a county-wide system.

If you are completely unable to attend a registrar in the district (or county) in England in which the death occurred you can attend elsewhere and carry out a declaration of the death. You should be aware that issue of the Death Certificate will be delayed as documents must be sent between the registrars in the post. In Scotland the registration may be done at any Scottish registration office.

Most registrars operate appointment systems. Some operate an emergency out of office hours service for families needing urgent burial for any reason. Telephone your main council switchboard to find out if there is an out of hours service. Many registrars now also offer an on-line booking system – search under Deaths on your local council website.

In general, registration of the death should be carried out before the funeral can go ahead. Exceptions are deaths subject to investigation by the coroner. Permission for burial may also be issued before full registration in certain circumstances but this is not possible if cremation is planned.

A death must, by law, be registered within 5 days, normally in the registration district in which the death has occurred. We will be able to advise you as to the whereabouts of the relevant office. Under normal circumstances the ‘Medical Certificate’ (signed by a doctor) should be taken to the registrars with, if possible, the deceased’s ‘Medical Card’. The registrar will then issue the ‘Death Certificate’, a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (called the ‘green form’) for the Funeral Director and form BD8 relating to the DWP and state pension, recently the DWP have created a “Tell Us Once Service” the registrar is able to go through this with you at the time of registration.

To avoid delays, it is best to go to the register office in the area in which the person has died. You can choose another register office (in certain circumstances only) but it may take longer to get the necessary documents and this could delay the funeral arrangements.

Simply call us today on 01274 571021 for more information on registering a death of a loved one and we will be happy to guide you through the process.

Who Can Register a Death?

The person who registers the death is formally known as the ‘the informant’. Only relatives or certain other individuals are qualified by law to register a death. This will also depend on where the death occurred.When you telephone to make the appointment to register the death, give the name and relationship of the person who will be attending to do the registration to check that they are best person available to do this. It is preferable if the person who is at the top of these lists can do the registration. It can be someone further down the list if someone above cannot carry out the registration for reasons of disability or ill health, they are out of the country or other resons such as being in custody.

If the death occurred inside a house or public building such as a hospital, the following people may register the death:

  • A relative

  • Someone who was present at the death

  • The occupier of the house or an official from the public building where the death occurres, e.g. the hospital

  • The person making the arrangements with the funeral director

What the Registrar Will Give You

When the registrar has all the information that they need and this has been entered in the register, they will give you a:

Death Certificate

This is a certified copy of the death entry in the register and proves that the death has been registered. These have to be purchased.

It is important to ask for additional copies of the death certificate if it is possible that the person’s estate will have to go through probate. Even if you do not need probate you will need to have a copy of the death certificate for each asset holder, e.g. for each bank or building society where there are accounts, each pension or insurance policy. Without a sufficient number of death certificates, sorting out the estate takes longer and extra certificates are more expensive to purchase at a later stage.

The cost of certified copies of the death certificate at the time of registering the death vary from one country to another. The cost per copy is: £4.00 in England and Wales, £8.00 in Northern Ireland and £10.00 in Scotland.

Photocopies of the certificate are not normally accepted for legal, financial and insurance companies and are a breach of copyright.

Certificate for Burial or Cremation (GR021 in N.Ireland)

This is often called the ‘green form’. The registrar will issue a certificate for the burial or cremation of the body, which is normally passed to the funeral director by the person making the arrangements. The funeral cannot happen until this certificate is given to the burial authority or the crematorium. This will not be issued in certain circumstances when the coroner has been involved. This form is free.

Certificate for Department of Work & Pensions benefits (BD8 form Registration or Notification of Death in England & Form 3344SI in Scotland, form 36/BD8 in N.Ireland)

A certificate to send to the Department of Work & Pensions. Some register offices also issue an envelope with this form but it can also be returned to the office from which any pension or benefit has been issued or to a local Jobcentre Plus office.

If the person who has died was a pensioner, the death can be notified to the Pensions Service with a telephone call. Depending on the relationship of the person making the call it may not be necessary for the BD8 to be posted.

Details of the death are given on one side and on the reverse side is a form to be completed with further details of the person who has died and the person dealing with the estate. This form is also free.

For any further questions about our funeral packages, please contact us today.

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