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Registering A Death

Deaths which occur within England and Wales must be registered at the Register Office for the area in which the death occurred. Alternatively, the death may be registered 'by declaration' at a Register Office of the informant’s choosing but this can cause a slight delay in gaining certificates. As Funeral directors, we are not allowed to register the death on behalf of clients but can advise on procedure, when and where to attend and provide transport if required.

The act of registering is a formal process performed under oath. The Registrar at the Register Office must be in receipt of the Medical Cause of Death Certificate from the doctor (which the informant would usually take with them) or, if the Coroner has held an autopsy, a certificate from him (which would normally be sent by post).

In the event of a Coroner's Inquest, the death is registered after the conclusion of the Inquest, by the Coroner in correspondence. This is often some time after death and funeral. The family may then apply to the Register Office for certificates as detailed below.

Informants can be:

  • A close member of the family

  • Any person present at the time of death

  • The person(s) making the funeral arrangements

  • The person in charge of the hospital, nursing home or other institution where the death occurred

  • The Registrar will need to know:

  • The date and place of death

  • The deceased’s full names and address

  • The Maiden name for a married woman

  • The date and place of birth

  • The occupation

  • Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowances from public funds

  • If the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower

Once the death is registered, certified copies of the entry in the Register (known as ‘copy death certificates’) are available, along with a certificate for the Department of Social Security, which deals with state pensions etc. Depending upon the circumstances, the Registrar may give you a green-coloured certificate, which permits the burial or cremation, and this must be forwarded to us as soon as possible (do not be concerned if you are not given this 'green' certificate as often the Coroner issues a certificate in its place). The 'certified copies' are used to administer the Estate, to close bank accounts, private pensions, gain Probate etc.

In addition to the statutory service, most register offices also provide an optional 'tell us once' service, which enables the Informant to administer the deceased's affairs with a number of other national and local governments departments. For instance, if the deceased's passport or driving license are available the Registrar will arrange to cancel it/them. Among other institutions would be libraries, electoral services, council tax, among many others.