The death of a member of the family, a relative or a friend is a distressing and difficult time. Not only do we have to deal with the grief and sadness we have, but there is the important issue of arranging to register the death.
You normally need to register a person's death within five days, and when someone you love has died this can seem like a daunting task. On these pages there is some of the information that will assist you with the formalities of registering a death.
If there is any further information you require or wish to discuss any details regarding registering a death, please contact your local registration office who will be able to help and advise.
In England and Wales a death must be registered within 5 days of the date of death, unless the Registrar says that this period may be extended or if the coroner is involved. The Registration itself will take approximately 30 minutes.
Unless the Coroner is involved, you will be issued with a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death by the Doctor of the deceased, who will either be a General Practitioner or a Hospital Doctor. Once you have this certificate you should arrange an appointment with the Registrar.
A death should be registered in the district where it occurred. If it will be difficult for you to travel to the right register office to register the death, you can go to a registrar in a more convenient place in England or Wales. They will note the information needed to register the death and send it to the registrar in the right district for you. However, if you see a Registrar outside the area where the death occurred, they will not register the death and they will not be able to issue the certificate for the funeral director or any other certificates. These will be posted to you a few days later by the Registrar who registered the death in the district where it took place. This may cause delays for you in organising the funeral.
Before they can take any information from you the registrar must see the medical certificate issued by the doctor, or by a coroner if there has been a post mortem. If you do not have this certificate, you may need a notification from the Coroner. If there are any problems, the Registrar may not be able to take the information straight away.
Before you go to a register office outside the area where the death took place it would be a good idea to tell the following people:
The law states that the following may register a death, in this order:
Others may be qualified in specific circumstances. Consult a Registrar for details.
You may bring a friend or relative with you to see the Registrar together with any documents (medical card, birth certificates and marriage certificates that relate to the person that has died). The Registrar will see you in private and will ask you questions but please do not worry about the registration - if you are upset, the Registrar will understand and will give you the time you need.
Please note to register a death you will need to make an appointment with the appropriate office or book an appointment online.
After Registration you will be issued with two forms:
Death certificates may be required by banks, building societies, solicitors or for some insurance and pension claims (photocopies are not acceptable). You may purchase as many certificates as you wish at the time of registration.
Registration of a death, including the document to enable you to arrange the burial or cremation and the certificate for Social Security is free of charge.
You may need to purchase copies of the death certificate. Each certificate is a certified copy of the entry in the Death Register and costs £ 4.00 at the time of registration, or £ 7 at a later date.
Please note, once the actual register is completed, and has been passed to the custody of the Superintendent Registrar, the statutory fee is £ 10.00.
All certificates purchased are Crown Copyright and may not be photocopied.
The Coroner's Service is possibly the definitive 'change of circumstances' service, and it is used at one of the most difficult and emotional periods in life, where a member of the family, or a friend, has died through tragic or unexplained circumstances.
It is the role of a Coroner to ascertain the circumstances surrounding certain types of death, and to inquire and investigate to establish certain facts. These are, in basic terms - who, when, where and how. The coroner will establish:
Who - the identity of the deceased
When - When the death occurred
Where - the location of the death
How - the cause and circumstances of the death
A Coroner's role is not to apportion blame, only to establish the facts. It is for others, based on the findings of the Coroner, to then look to establish if there was any wrong doing, criminal or otherwise, or where negligence may have taken place.
All Coroners are independent judicial officers and are not employed by the local authority. They are independent of both Local and Central Government, and are required to act in accordance with legislation. They therefore answer only to the Chief Coroner for England & Wales, the Ministry of Justice and the Lord Chancellor. Ultimately their role is to hold inquests on behalf of the Queen.
In May 2106 the Coroners Service in Cumbria moved to a new electronic case management system. This is part of a long-term plan to further improve the administration and management of coronial cases, and help with a wider program within both the coroners service and local authority to use electronic communication methods, moving away from paper based systems and records.
Canwe ask that all written correspondenceto the Coroners Service is now sent by email rather than post or fax.The email address is:
Where practical all other enquiries for, or to provide information to, the Coroners Service should be made via email rather than by telephone. Where required this will enable us to provide more detailed and fuller responses to any such enquiries.
When someone dies you will need to contact a wide variety of organisations to inform them of the death. Here are just some of those you may need to contact, you may have to send them a death certificate:
Please note this is not an exhaustive list and each case will have different officials, organisations and people to advise.
It is important to note that if the deceased owned a vehicle then it may be no-one now has insurance cover to drive it. Many policies state that a vehicle may be driven by someone else with the owner's permission but as soon as the owner dies any such permission may cease. Contact the car insurance company before anyone drives the vehicle to make sure they are covered.
Tell Us Once
A new service called 'Tell Us Once' has been introduced in England, Scotland and Wales which helps you tell the government just once about a person's death.
PLEASE BE AWARE we are experiencing a high volume of calls at the present time. It is likely that you will get through to an answer machine message, please leave one message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
We would like to express our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.