Registering a death

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How do you register a death?

How and where can you register a death, and find information you will need to provide.

A death must be registered within five days from when it occurred. This period can be extended in exceptional circumstances and if the Coroner is involved. The registration must take place in the district where the death occurred.

If it is difficult for you to get to the appropriate Register Office, you may visit Bury Register Office and declare the necessary information. In this case the registration by declaration may result in a delay in the issue of the documents needed for funeral arrangements.

You can only register a death once you have the Medical Cause of Death Certificate from the Doctor or hospital. Sometimes deaths have to be reported to the Coroner which may delay the registration process.

If there is to be an inquest into the death, you will not be required to register. The Coroner will give you further information.

Who can register a death?

Qualified informants can register a death. A qualified informant can be:

  • A relative who was present at the death
  • A relative in attendance during the last illness
  • A person who was present at the death
  • A senior official of the nursing home, residential home or hospital where the death took place
  • The person arranging the funeral (not the Funeral Director). A person arranging the funeral should only register a death if there are no relatives available.

What information will you need to give the Registrar about the deceased?

  • The date and place of death
  • Their full name and any other names they are known by, or have been known by, including their maiden surname
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their last occupation (if the deceased is married, in a civil partnership, or widowed, the full name and occupation of their spouse or civil partner)
  • Their usual address
  • The date of birth of a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • Details of any public sector pension, e.g. civil service, teacher or armed forces.

What information will you need to give the Registrar about yourself as the person registering?

  • Your relationship to the deceased for example, widow, widower, surviving civil partner, son, daughter, niece, nephew, etc.
  • Your full name
  • Your usual address.

What documents will you need when registering a death?

When you go to register the death you must take with you:

  • Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, signed by a Doctor unless the Coroner is issuing the paperwork. It would also be helpful, but not essential if you can take the deceased's:
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage/civil partnership certificate
  • NHS medical card.

What documents will you receive from the Registrar?

After the information has been recorded in the death register, the Registrar will issue the necessary forms and certificates.

The Registrar will give you:

  • A Certificate for Burial or Cremation (called the 'green form'), giving permission for the body to be buried or for an application for cremation to be made. (If the deceased is to be buried or cremated outside of England or Wales, the Coroner will issue these forms)
  • Any Death Certificates required. There is a statutory fee payable to the Registrar for each certificate.

What happens if the death is referred to a Coroner?

If the Coroner decides there should be a post mortem, a certificate giving the cause of death will be sent to the Registrar on completion of the Coroner's enquiries. You can then go ahead and register the death. In a small number of cases where the cause of death is unclear, sudden or suspicious, the Doctor or Registrar will report the death to the Coroner. In this case, registration of the death will be delayed as an inquest will need to be held.

Inquests

It is the duty of Coroners to investigate deaths which are reported to them and which:

  • Appear to be due to violence
  • Are unnatural
  • Are of sudden and of unknown cause
  • Occur in legal custody.

Contact for Register Office