How to Register a Death

Every death in England and Wales should be registered in the sub-district where the death occurred. Most people know their local Register Office as they may have attended weddings there; they are usually located at the local town hall or county office. Telephone to make an appointment to register the death.

The death must be registered at the Register Office within five days of the death unless the coroner is involved. It is a criminal offence not to register a death.

The death should be registered by one of the following (in order of priority):

  • A relative who was present at the death.
  • A relative present during the person's last illness.
  • A relative living in the district where the death took place.
  • Anyone else present at the death.
  • An owner or occupier of the building where the death took place and who was aware of the death.
  • The person arranging the funeral (but not the funeral director).

You cannot delegate responsibility for registering the death to anyone else.

The following documents must be taken to the register office in order to register the death:

  • The medical certificate of the cause of death
  • The deceased's medical/NHS card
  • The deceased's birth and marriage certificates (if you can get them)

The following information will also be needed:

  • The first name, surname (and former name) of the deceased.
  • Their full postal address at death.
  • Their date of birth, and town and county of birth.
  • Date and place of death.
  • Their occupation.
  • Name and occupation of spouse (or former spouse).
  • Date and place of birth of any surviving spouse

Although the registration is quite formal, the Registrar will assist at each stage of the process.

Once the Registrar has completed the paperwork three documents will be issued.

  1. Certified Copy of an Entry in the Register of Deaths (white form), known as a Death Certificate, this is what you will be asked to produce for companies such as banks to prove someone has died. The cost of one death certificate is about £3-5. Copies are useful but cost extra. If copies are needed in the future then they can be purchased online, via the post or through the original register office.
  2. A Registrars Certificate for Burial or Cremation (sometimes called the Green Certificate). You should give this to the Funeral Director who will then give it to the appropriate people.
  3. A certificate of registration or notification of death needed to claim or cancel benefit or pensions from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

You can find more information on registering deaths from DirectGov and the Citizens Advice Bureau. You can find comprehensive information on the role of Coroners and inquests at Inquest.