Registering a Death
How to register a death while under the COVID-19 restrictions.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, registration of deaths is happening remotely. The Doctor who has completed the Medical Certificate for the Cause of Death (MCCD) will send it electronically to the Registrar in the District (usually the county or unitary authority) where the death took place. You will be informed when this has taken place and can then contact the Registrar to arrange for the death to be registered. If the person who died had their death investigated by the Coroner’s Office, they will tell you when you can register the death and which Registrar to contact.
In either case, the appointments are happening by telephone, where the Registrar will call you back at a pre-arranged time. They will then post you however many death certificates (that are technically called ‘Certified Copies of an Entry of Death’) you require.
When the death is registered, the Registrar issues a piece of paperwork called Certificate for Burial or Cremation (usually called the Green Form as it is green in colour) to your nominated Funeral Director. This is currently being done by email so you will need to have asked your Funeral Director for their email address.
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.
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?
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