How to Register a Death in England and Wales
When a death occurs, someone has to deal with the formal registration with the relevant Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages. Planning ahead does make things easier, and you might consider downloading and completing the Registering a Death form for yourself as well, and filing it with the relevant documents, just a thought! But there are a number of steps that must be complied with before that can happen:
- Registration should normally take place with 5 days of death. This will not be possible if the Coroner is involved.
- You must be a person qualified to register the death – typically the next of kin, but more details on who is allowed to register a death here if that is not appropriate.
- The Medical Certificate of Death must have been issued by the deceased doctor or by the coroner (43% of deaths are reviewed by the Coroner, often just because the deceased hadn’t seen a doctor within 2 weeks of death, or that doctor is on holiday.) The Coroners involvement is NOT a cause for concern. Funeral Directors must have the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death before they can do much.
- You will need quite a bit of information about the deceased (we’ve put a download below so you can print it and then find all the information in advance).
- When everything is ready, contact the relevant Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages and make an appointment. Most are listed below: please let us know if any links are out of date.) Historically this has been face to face, but some are using the phone currently. If you are not near the Registrar for the area of the deceased, you may be able to work with your local one, but that will slow things down.
- Think how many Death Certificates will be needed – copies are unlikely to be accepted by banks, insurance or investment companies or lenders. Each one is currently £11, so the cost can be significant. The executor can repay the cost from the estate in due course.
Find the nearest Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages to where the deceased lived to register a death. Click on the link for the relevant area for local information, but you can register it with any other Registrars in England and Wales, though this will slow the process slightly. If you need help with the legal side, contact us. This page offers advice on who should register the death. Why not Contact Us with any questions you may have!
PDF form to gather the necessary information for the Registrar.
There is also a free fact sheet on how to register a death you can download now. The ideal time to complete the basics of this is long before anyone dies when all the information can be easily found. So why not be prepared yourself? Be prepared!
If you haven’t already watched it, here is the official Government video what to do when someone dies. It is well worth a listen before you request our Guide and Tips and the download the Fact Sheet.
It is a requirement that registration takes place within 5 days, so if you are unable to do this, you should advise the authorities in order to avoid problems. Where post-mortems are required (which is far more often than most people realise) this is normal and registering a death may take much longer.
When you are with the registrar, make sure you get several copies of the death certificate as you will need to give or send originals to most of the institutions who hold money for the person who died, and possibly to the land Registry too. Extra copy certificates are cheaper if purchased at the time of registering a death.
Need help choosing a Funeral Director? Click here
Download a Free Guide to Probate with time and money saving tips what to do when someone dies
Registering in London Barking & Dagenham Bexley Barnet Camden City Ealing Enfield Greenwich Hackney Hammersmith & Fulham Haringey Harrow Havering Hounslow Islington Kensington & Chelsea Kingston on Thames Lambeth Lewisham Merton Redbridge Sutton Tower Hamlets Waltham Forest Wandsworth Westminster
Registering a death in Sussex:
Registering a death in Yorkshire:
If you are involved in registering deaths in any other part of the united kingdom, please contact us and give us the relevant link on your Local Authority site. We will be pleased to add it to the list of registrars of births and deaths contact details we link to above. Our aim is to reduce the stress which follows death as much as possible and we always welcome new material and relevant links which we can post up on The Probate Department.