Who can register the death and what you will need
You should register the death within 5 days. (Please note though, that where a coroner is investigating the death this is not always possible and the registrars service accepts this may cause a delay.)
Most people tend to register the death in area where the person died. This means that you’ll be given the documents on you’ll need on the day.
You can register a death in another area but the paperwork won’t be ready on the same day and will take longer. If you chose this option the documents will be sent to the office in the area where the person died before then being issued to use. This usually adds on a few days and is what causes the delay.
If a post-mortem examination finds the cause of death and it was from natural causes and there is no other legal reason for there to be an inquest, the coroner will issue a document that allows the death to be registered. This is usually delivered directly to the registrar but you may be asked to collect it from the coroner’s office in person.
At this stage you can make an appointment to register the death. If a burial is being arranged it is the registrar who will issue a document authorising the funeral to take place, but please tell the coroner’s officer if you will be arranging a cremation. For a cremation it is the coroner who issues the document authorising the funeral. Usually your funeral director will collect this from the coroner’s office so tell the coroner’s officer if you are arranging the funeral yourself.
Sometimes the first part of the post-mortem examination does not immediately identify the cause of death but it does seem certain that it will have been a natural event. This is usually when the pathologist has to study tissue samples from the deceased person under a microscope. This is something that can take several weeks before a result is available. You will not be able to register the death until the cause of death is known but the coroner will be able to issue you with a Coroner’s certificate of the fact of death. Sometimes this is called an interim certificate. It takes the place of a Death certificate until the death can be registered. You will be able to use this Coroner’s certificate to prove to banks and other organisations that the person has died. If you need to obtain probate you will be able to do so using this certificate.
If the cause of death was not natural or there are legal reasons why there has to be an inquest, the death is not registered until the inquest has been held. This is usually several weeks or even months after the date of death. The coroner will issue the Coroner’s certificate of the fact of death to allow you to start to deal with all the money and property affairs of the person who has died including obtaining probate if needed.
- the person’s full name at the time of death
- any names previously used (maiden name for example)
- the person’s date and place of birth
- their last address
- their occupation
- the full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner
- whether they were getting a State Pension or any other benefits
Take the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD).
The deceased’s following are helpful to take too:
- Birth certificate
- Council Tax bill
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Driving licence
- NHS medical certificate
- Proof of address (a utility bill for example)
whilst not essential, we would advise you to take your proof of identity and address (a utility bill for example)