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Registering a death

Image 6Following the death of a loved one, a number of important tasks need to be carried out.  We provide an overview of many of these in our article “What to do following a bereavement”, but one of the most important of these tasks is registering the death.

Registering the death as soon as possible
There are two key reasons why registering the death is a priority.  Firstly, the law says that a death must be registered within five days unless it has been referred to the coroner.  Secondly, only after the death has been registered will you receive the forms that you need to give to the funeral director to allow the funeral to go ahead.

How to register a death
To register a death, you need to make an appointment to visit the Registrar of Births and Deaths for the area in which the death occurred.  To find the appropriate Registrar, you can look online or in the phone book, or ask either your funeral director or doctor who should be able to help you.  Your funeral director can also advise you on who has the authority to register the death.

Items and information to give to the Registrar
You will need to take your loved one’s medical certificate showing the cause of death, their medical card, their birth certificate, and their marriage or civil partnership certificate if applicable.

You will need to provide the registrar with your full name and home address so that you can be registered as the informant.  The registrar will ask you for quite a lot of information about your loved one which you will need to be able to provide.  Much of this should be included in the documents mentioned above, and includes:

  • full name
  • date of death
  • place of death
  • date of birth
  • place of birth
  • home address
  • date of birth of surviving partner, if applicable
  • most recent occupation

If the deceased was a woman, you must also provide their:

  • maiden name if applicable
  • husband’s full name, if applicable (even if deceased)
  • husband’s last occupation, if applicable (even if deceased)

You must also inform the registrar if the deceased was in receipt of a pension or any other allowance from public funds.

What the registrar will give to you
When you register the death, the registrar will provide you with a certificate giving permission for the body to be either cremated or buried, which you will need to give to the funeral director.  This is known as the green form.  They will also give you a certificate of registration of death, known as form BD8, for benefit claim purposes.  The information on the back will explain whom it applies to and what you will need to do with it.  Finally, the registrar should also provide you with informative leaflets, including leaflets about bereavement benefits and income tax for surviving spouses.

The death certificate
The death certificate is a certified copy of what the Registrar has placed in the death register.  You will not be given the death certificate, but can buy copies from the Registrar, so if you need copies of the death certificate you will need to take some money with you.  You may need copies of the death certificate for the will, any pension claims, insurance policies, saving bank certificates and premium bonds.  If you need more than one copy then you should request them at the time, as you will have to pay more if you request additional copies at a later date.  If the Registrar cannot provide you with all of the copies you can usually either call back at a later date to collect them, or leave some money so that they can post them to you.  It should be noted that insurance companies, banks, etc. do not accept photocopies, so you should obtain a certified copy for each one.

For more help and advice about what to do following the death of a loved one, please visit our website or call us on 020 8642 8211.

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