How to register a death
Where to register a death
As soon as it is convenient, the death should be registered at the ‘Register Office,’ which is normally in the district in which the death occurred.
Firstly, ask the doctor for the ‘Cause of death certificate’ which you must take, together with the medical card (if you have it), to the registrars. In the event that the coroner is involved, we suggest you contact the nominated funeral director, so they can best advise you on the course of action to take. This will vary dependent upon individual circumstances surrounding the death.
If copies of the death certificate are required for insurance policies, closure of bank accounts etc., the registrar will issue them on request but a charge per copy is levied. Copies can be obtained at a later date, but a search fee may be charged in addition to the price of the extra copies.
In most cases, the registrar will also issue a green certificate which is required by the funeral director when the funeral arrangements are made. Please be sure to take this with you when you meet with the funeral director.
Can I register a death online?
The short answer is yes, you can register a death online. It is much easier and quicker to register a death online rather than going directly to the Register Office. With the online service, you can fill in the information without needing to relay any information to anyone else and this will get passed on straight to the Register Office for you.
How long do you have to register a death?
When registering a death, the time limit depends on where you are in the UK:
Registering a death in England, Wales or Northern Ireland: including weekends and bank holidays, you will need to register the death as soon as possible – within 5 days.
Registering a death in Scotland: including weekends and bank holiday, you will need to register the death within 8 days.
What happens if I fail to register a death?
If you fail to register a death, within the correct time frame, or refuse to provide information, you can risk being fined £200.
If there is a delay in registering the death due to the doctor or coroner, then you will not need to worry about facing any penalty charges.
Who can register a death?
Registering a death is typically completed by a close family member, however, where this is not possible, there are certain people who can register the death.
We have put together a full list of people who can register a death below:
- Close relative of the deceased
- Relative in attendance during last illness
- A relative living in the district in which the death occurred
- A person present at death
- The person making arrangements with the funeral directors
We recommend making an appointment to visit or speak to a funeral director who will make all the necessary arrangements around the funeral for you and can help you with latest funeral costs and planning a funeral in a pandemic.
What do you need to register a death?
Once you have made an appointment with your local registrar, you will need to share as much information on the deceased and death as possible, such as:
- Date and place of death
- Full name of deceased (maiden name if applicable)
- Date and place of birth
- Occupation and home address
- If married, full name and occupation of surviving spouse
The medical certificate of cause of death is the most important document you need to register a death, which will be provided by your GP, the coroner or hospital. We also recommend having the following additional documents:
- Birth Certificate
- Council Tax bill
- Driving License
- Marriage/Civil Partnership Certificate, if applicable
- NHS Medical Card
- Proof of address
For more information on registering a death in the UK, please contact Open Prepaid Funerals - or, alternatively, view our Funeral Plans for more detail about what we offer.