Registering a Death
How to register a death while under the COVID-19 restrictions.
Deaths are registered at a Registrar’s Office in the District where the person has died- Registration Districts are usually (but not always) synonymous with counties, and this is certainly the case in our local area. The doctor who has completed the Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death (MCCD) will either send it to the Registrar electronically or ask you to collect it and take it with you to your registration appointment. This is variable depending on the doctor and the setting they are working in, so you will need to double check. In either case, Registration Services will either need to be in possession of the MCCD, or ask you to confirm that you have it, before booking an appointment for you to register the death.
At your appointment, the Registrar will take the MCCD if you have it, and provide you with the Certificate for Burial or Cremation (usually called the Green form as it is green in colour) and as many copies of the death certificate (technically called ‘Certified Copy of an Entry of Death’) as you request. The death certificate is used to confirm that the death has taken place, especially for financial institutions, and the Green form is given to the funeral director and confirms a funeral may proceed.
The Registrar may also ask you about ‘Tell us Once’ service, which lets you report a death to most government agencies in one go. You can find out more about this here. There is also a private sector version of this service, called Life Ledger, which is free to use and has a steadily-increasing quantity of businesses who you can notify about the death in its register. You can also find out more about Life Ledger by visiting our blog post written in collaboration with founder, Tremayne Carew Pole.
We tend to recommend that funeral arrangements are not confirmed until the death has been registered and we are in possession of the Green Form. Without the Green Form, the funeral cannot take place and we think it is preferable to avoid the need to reschedule if there are any delays with the registration process. If there is a need to book a date and time in advance of the death being registered, we would suggest it is either booked quite far in advance so there is time to work out any delays outside of our control and the date is unaffected, or that whatever is booked remains provisional until we can confirm everything is in hand.
Useful information for registering a death.
who and when
Registration should be done within five days of the death by a relative, someone present at the death, the occupier of the house where the death occurred or the person responsible for arranging the funeral. The funeral director is not usually eligible to do this.
Registration must take place in the district where the death occurred. The county or unitary authority area is usually considered one district and so the death may be registered at any office within that area. If you cannot register with an office in that area, please ask for advice about registration by declaration.
Check when the Register Office is open: advance appointments are usually required. Some of the Register Offices are not open full time so it is important to ensure someone will be available to help you.
In accordance with the current COVID-19 restrictions, appointments are being conducted by telephone.
The Registrar will need the medical certificate and an NHS card belonging to the person who has died, if available. If the death was dealt with by the Coroner, there will be no medical certificate and the Coroner will advise when you may register. They will provide the Registrar with the relevant paperwork prior to your appointment. Please ask for more information.
Be ready with details such as residential address and place of death (if these are not the same), previous name(s), date and place of birth, occupation and the date of birth of a surviving spouse.
Ask for as many copies of the death certificate as you think you will need as they become more expensive if you apply later. Please also be aware that some register offices still require payment by cash or cheque and may not accept credit or debit cards.
For more information, please feel free to contact your local office. You may also find the Useful Links page of our website useful: it contains links to many helpful websites. We also have several featured articles in our post here
Alternatively, you may find the following pages from www.gov.uk helpful.
Ministry of Justice – Cremation Regulations
Gives guidance and forms for everyone concerned with the process of Cremation, following the introduction of new regulations on 1st January 2009.
gov.uk – Death and Bereavement
The government’s guide to death and bereavement, including sections on benefit payments and registering a death.
gov.uk – Wills and Probate
Everything you need to know about Probate.
How much does a funeral cost?
It can be hard to know how much a funeral might cost, especially as third-party fees can vary considerably and are sometimes not included in our competitors' quotes. Our easy-to-use estimation tool takes all aspects of the arrangement into account, giving you a realistic view right from the outset, so there are no surprises. Additionally, our statutory information page offers further detail regarding our standardised pricing.