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Registering a Death

Registering a Death

A death should be registered within five days but registration can be delayed for another nine days if the registrar is told that a medical certificate has been issued. If the death has been reported to the coroner you cannot register it until the coroner’s investigations are finished.

Where and how to register a death

In order to register you must be in possession of a medical certificate that states the cause of death.

When someone dies at home of in a residential/nursing home, the doctor who was treating the deceased will issue a medical certificate stating the cause of death. This medical certificate will be available for the relatives to collect normally from the doctor’s surgery or the medical centre of the deceased person. The person who will be registering the death must take this certificate to the Registrar’s office within the district of death. If you are unsure at any stage of which office to take the certificate to, call one of our offices where a member of staff will be able to advise you.

Please call 01332 345268 for the contact details of your nearest registra.

If a death occurs in hospital, the ward staff will inform you which office will be dealing with the death certificate and their contact number to arrange collection.

Occasionally, if the death was sudden or the doctor treating the deceased is unavailable, it may not be possible for a medical certificate of cause of death to be issued. If this happens, the death will have to be reported to the coroner, which may lead to a delay in registering the death. If this happens, you will still be able to make some of the arrangements, but the more definite details such as the date of the funeral will have to be arranged once the death certificate has been issued.

Who can register a death?

The majority of deaths are registered by a relative of the deceased. The registrar will allow other people to register the death only if there were not relatives available and these are noted below:

If the death takes place in a house or nursing/residential home –

  • A relative of the deceased
  • Someone present at the death
  • The occupier of the house or hospital if he or she knew of the death
  • Another person living in the house if he or she knew of the death
  • The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.

Death occurring elsewhere –

  • A relative of the deceased
  • Someone present at the death
  • Someone who found the body
  • A person in charge of the body
  • The person making the arrangements with the funeral director

Information to be supplied for the registration of a death

The following list contains the information that must be given to the registrar for the registration –

  • Date and place of death
  • Name and surname of the deceased
  • Maiden surname, if the deceased had their name changed after marriage
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Name and occupation of partner, where the deceased was married or a widow/widower
  • Usual address
  • Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds
  • If the deceased was married, the date or birth of the surviving widow or widower

The deceased’s medical card, birth certificate and marriage certificate if available, should also be taken to the registrar.

It is extremely important that the information recorded in the death register is accurate. Mistakes are sometimes difficult to correct and it is the registering person’s responsibility to get them corrected. The person registering the death should check the information in the register very carefully before the entry is signed.

What certificates will be issued?

Death certificate – Registration is free. A certified copy of the entry in the Register of Deaths “a death certificate” can be obtained for a small fee (normally less than £10 each). Bear in mind, you may require one or more copies for private pension and financial matters.

Certificate for burial or cremation – The registrar will issue a certificate for the burial or cremation of the body, which is normally passed to the funeral director by the relative who is making the arrangement. A funeral cannot proceed until this certificate is given to the burial authority or the crematorium. If there is a delay to the registration of the death, it is possible for a certificate for the burial of the deceased’s body to be issued before the registration provided the death does not need to be reported to the coroner. A certificate for the cremation cannot be issued before the registration of the death.

If a death has been reported to the coroner, he or she may issue a certificate for burial or cremation where possible.

Which deaths need to be reported to the coroner?

A small number of deaths have to be reported to the coroner before they can be registered and before the document allowing the funeral to go ahead can be issued. The following are the deaths that, if not already reported to the coroner by someone else, will be reported to the registrar:

  • Where there is no doctor who can issue a medical certificate of cause of death
  • Where the deceased was not seen by the doctor issuing the medical certificate after death nor within 14 days before death
  • Where the cause of death is unknown
  • Where the cause of death is believed to be unnatural or suspicious
  • Where the death occurred during an operation or before recovery from an anaesthetic
  • Where the death is due to industrial disease or industrial poisoning

Once the death has been reported to the coroner, the registrar cannot go ahead with the registration until the coroner has decided whether the further investigation into death is necessary. In the vast majority of cases no further investigation is necessary and the registration can be completed strait away.

When a death is referred to the coroner, you will need to telephone the coroner’s officer who will give you further advice and guidance on what to do next.

The coroner’s office for Derby and South Derbyshire is open Monday – Friday 8:30 to 15:30 (15:00 on Friday and not open on bank holidays) Telephone 01332 613014

Certificate for applicable Social Security benefits

A certificate for sending to the Department of Social Security will also need to be issued by the registrar to the person registering the death or other applicant. The form serves a dual purpose; details of the deceased are given on one side and on the other side is a claim form for applicable benefits.

Tell us once

This is a service offered by Derbyshire Registry offices which enables you to tell on mass the DWP, State Pension, local council and passport office that someone has passed away. When you register the death you will usually receive the form from the Registrars. We have information sheets on hand to help you through the process.