Registering a death

Since 1953, the death of every person dying in England and Wales and the cause thereof must be registered by the Registrar of Births and Deaths. This can now be done at any registry office irrelevant of the sub-district in which the death occurred.

Registration in most cases should take place prior to the funeral. A relative of the deceased usually registers the death. If no relative is available then the duty may be performed by any person present at the death, the occupier of the premises where the death took place, or the person who is accepting responsibility for arranging the funeral. It will be necessary to arrange the appointment with the Registrar within 5 days after the death unless the Registrar says this period may be exceeded. This is also required for stillbirths.

What does the Registrar need to know?

The Registrar will require the following information about the deceased:

  • The date and place of their death.
  • The deceased’s first names and surname (and the maiden name, where appropriate).
  • The deceased date of birth (town and county if born in the UK, and country if born abroad).
  • The deceased’s occupation and name and occupation of their spouse.
  • The full postal address of the deceased.
  • If they were in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds.
  • If the deceased was married, the date and place of birth of the surviving widow or widower.

The Registrar will also require the following documents:

  • The Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death.
  • The deceased’s National Health Service medical card, (if available).
  • The deceased’s Birth and Marriage certificates, (if available).

Upon registration, the Registrar will give you a Certified Copy of an Entry in the Register of Death. This certificate is often referred to as the ‘Death Certificate’. Certified copies of the entry of death can be obtained for a small charge – these may be needed for legal or financial purposes such as closing bank accounts, Will, pension claims, insurance policies, etc.

The Funeral Director does not need a copy of this certificate. You will also be issued a Certificate for Burial or Cremation which we will require in order to make the funeral arrangements on your behalf.

Click here for more information on local registras