Registering a death

A death must be registered within 5 days (8 days in Scotland). You’ll then get the documents you need for the funeral.

Coroner involvement

If the death’s been reported to a coroner (Procurator Fiscal in Scotland) you can’t register the death until the coroner gives permission.

To find out more about this visit www.gov.uk/after-a-death.


Visiting a registrar

You can go to any register office but if you use the one in the area where the person died you’ll be given the documents you’ll need on the day.

If you use a different register office the documents will be sent to the office in the area where the person died before they’re issued to you. This means you’ll usually wait a few days.

Registering the death will take about 30 minutes – you might need to make an appointment.


Who can register the death

You can register the death if you’re:

  • a relative
  • someone present at the death
  • an administrator from the hospital
  • the person making arrangements with the funeral directors

What you need to do

Take the medical certificate showing the cause of death (signed by a doctor) with you. If available (but don’t worry if not), also take the person’s:

  • birth certificate
  • Council Tax bill
  • driving licence
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • passport
  • proof of address (eg utility bill)

You’ll need to tell the registrar:

  • the person’s full name at the time of death
  • any names previously used, eg maiden name
  • 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

You should also take supporting documents that show your name and address (eg a utility bill) but you can still register a death without them.


Documents you’ll get

When you register a death you’ll get:

  • a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘green form’) – gives permission for burial or an application for cremation
  • a Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8) – you may need to fill this out and return it if the person was getting a State Pension or benefits (the form will come with a pre-paid envelope so you know where to send it)

You can buy extra death certificates – these will be needed for sorting out the person’s affairs.


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