Registering a Death

For many of us registering a death is not something which we have ever had to do and the experience can therefore be very overwhelming and for some very daunting. The team at T G Baynes have produced this guide to help those registering a death understand the death registration process.

Who can register a death?

A death is normally registered by a relative or somebody who was present at the death. However this can also be dealt with by hospital administrators and those making the funeral arrangements.

Where is the death registered?

The person registering the death should aim to do so within 5 days of the individual passing away. The death can be registered at any Register Office but if the death is registered at the Register Office in the area where the person died they will be given the Death Certificate the same day.

If the death is registered at a different Register Office the documents will be sent to the office in the area where the person died before they are issued. This normally means that there will be a short delay before the Death Certificate is received.

How long does it take to register a death?

The appointment with the Register Office will normally last around 30 minutes. You should call the Register Office to make an appointment at the earliest opportunity.

What documents need to be produced?

The person registering the death should take the medical certificate confirming the cause of death (signed by a doctor) with them to the appointment with the Register office (different procedures will apply if the death has been referred to the Coroner’s Office).

If the person registering the death has any of the following documents for the deceased these should also be provided however it is important to note that this is not a necessity:

  • NHS medical card
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Birth certificate

The registrar may require evidence of identity from the person registering the death.

What information will the registrar require?

The registrar will require the following information in order to be able to register the death:

  • The deceased’s full name at the time of death
  • Any names previously used by the deceased e.g. their maiden name, previous married name
  • The deceased’s date of birth
  • The deceased’s place of birth
  • The deceased’s last address
  • The deceased’s occupation
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of any spouse that has passed away before the deceased
  • Whether the deceased was in receipt of a State Pension or any other benefits.

What documents will the registrar provide?

A green form will be provided which is the certificate for burial or cremation. This form gives permission for a burial to take place or an application for cremation. This needs to be passed to the undertakers.

Form DB8 (Certificate of Registration of Death) will also be issued and will need to be completed if the deceased was in receipt of State Pension or benefits unless the Tell Us Once service is used instead (see below).

The Registrar will also provide what are commonly described as Death Certificates although strictly they are certified copies of the entry in the register. This is what will need to be produced to everyone who needs official notification of the death, e.g. banks, insurance companies, pension providers. There is a charge for each Death Certificate which is currently £4.00 each.

‘Tell Us Once’ service

When registering a death the registrar will advise whether the ‘Tell Us Once’ service is available in that area. The service allows the person reporting the death to inform most government organisation in one go. This will include the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs, the DVLA, the local council, electoral roll, library, the Passport Office and any public sector or armed forces pension’s schemes.

What information is needed to be able to use the ‘Tell Us Once’ service?

The person registering the death will need to be able to provide the following information for the deceased in order for the ‘Tell Us Once’ service to be used:

  • Date of birth
  • Name and address of their next of kin
  • The name and address of any surviving spouse or civil partner
  • The name, address and contact details of the person or company dealing with the estate (also referred to as the executor or administrator)
  • Driving licence number
  • National insurance number
  • Passport number
  • Details of any benefits e.g. State Pension
  • Details of any public sector or armed forces pensions schemes
  • Details of any local council services the deceased was receiving e.g. Blue Badge