Registering a death

Once the cause of death has been established and the medical certificate issued, it's necessary to inform the Registrar (at any local Register Office), who will issue the death certificate. You will need to make an appointment to see the Registrar, and unless a coroner is involved this must be done within five days of the death. Only when you have the death certificate can you start to make the funeral arrangements.

Who can inform the Registrar?

Usually, the next of kin or relative goes to see the Registrar and obtain the death certificate. Where there is no relative, other people allowed to perform this duty are:

  • the person responsible for arranging the funeral (but not the funeral director)
  • any person present at the death
  • the occupier of the premises where the death occurred (such as the matron of a care home)

Preparing for a visit to the Registrar

The Registrar will ask you to supply the personal details of the deceased, and to take along certain documents. He or she will need to know:

  • the full name of the deceased (and maiden name for a married woman)
  • the date and place of birth
  • the date and place of death
  • the deceased's usual home address
  • the deceased's occupation
  • the date of birth of a surviving spouse
  • whether the deceased had a pension or allowance from public funds

The Registrar will ask you for:

  • the medical certificate of cause of death
  • the deceased's birth certificate and marriage certificate
  • the deceased's NHS medical card (if you can find it easily)

In return, the Registrar will give you two documents:

  • a "green form" giving permission for the burial or cremation to take place – give this to your funeral director
  • a certificate of registration of death (form BD8) – you will need this for social security purposes, and when sorting out the deceased's affairs

You receive one copy of the death certificate, but you can buy additional copies at this time if you wish. (You may need several copies to give to financial and legal institutions, and it is likely to cost more to buy extra copies later.)

How we can help

Your funeral director will be able to explain the process of registering a death, and can make an appointment for you with the Registrar. He or she will help you to prepare for the meeting and accompany you to register the death, if you wish.