Registering a death

Registering the death will give you the documents you need for the funeral, though we can start making arrangements and give you advice before that.

During the coronavirus pandemic, registering a death may be different depending on which Registrar's office you use. Find your local Registrar's Office for more information on how to register a death at this time.

Where can I register a death?

At this time, most Registrar's offices are closed and you'll be able to register a death over the phone. Check with your local Registrar's office for more information.

If you'd like support with registering the death, your local funeral director can help you. We can start making arrangements and give you advice before the death is formally registered.

Who can register a death?

Usually, a relative of the person who has died will register the death. If no relatives are available, then the death can be registered by:

  • anyone who was present at the death
  • an occupant of the house where the death occurred
  • the person who's taking responsibility for arranging the funeral
  • the chosen funeral director

Registering a death might work a bit differently if the Coroner or Procurator Fiscal is looking into the death. If this happens we can talk to you about it and give you advice.

You will need to provide the Registrar with the following information about the person who has died:

  • the date and place of their birth
  • their full name
  • the date and location of death
  • their occupation
  • their home address
  • if they had a pension or allowance from public funds
  • if they were married or in a civil partnership

What information to give to the Registrar

During the coronavirus pandemic, your doctor will be able to send the medical certificate of cause of death to the Registrar on your behalf.

You'll need to have the following to hand, or have electronic copies for your phone appointment with the Registrar:

  • birth certificate
  • driving licence
  • passport
  • marriage certificate (if they were married)
  • NHS medical card (if you have it)
  • proof of address

What the Registrar will do

They’ll issue copies of the following free of charge:

  • a green Certificate for Burial or Cremation, or in Scotland, a white Certificate of Registration of Death, which the Registrar can send directly to us at this time
  • a form or certificate to send to the Department of Work and Pensions benefits.

The Registrar will also issue:

  • a death certificate, which is a copy of the entry in the death register. There is a charge for copies of this. You'll still be able to get extra copies of the death certificate at this time, but there may be delays in getting these posted to you.

How much does a death certificate cost?

The cost of a death certificate varies depending on where in the UK the person has died. The cost per copy of a death certificate is: £11 in England & Wales, £10 in Scotland, and £8 in Northern Ireland.

Additional copies may cost more if you buy them at a later date. Additional copies will be needed if the person's estate needs to go through probate, or if there are bank accounts or insurance policies to close down.

What happens if you don't register a death within 5 days?

A death should be registered within 5 days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or 8 days if you're in Scotland. If the death has been reported to the Coroner or Procurator Fiscal you can't register the death until the investigations are finished.

You can't get someone to register the death on your behalf. It is a criminal offence not to register a death.

Registering a death in Scotland

As mentioned above, if you’re registering a death in Scotland, this will need to be done within 8 days. Unlike the rest of the UK, in Scotland some medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) are chosen for review after being submitted to the Registrar. This can delay the death registration process by up to 3 days.

If you’re arranging a religious funeral that needs to go ahead as quickly as possible, you may be able to apply for ‘advanced registration’. If advanced registration is granted, the funeral can go ahead without any delays.

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