What should I do when someone has died?

Registering a death

Confirming A Death

You will require a medical certificate from your GP or hospital doctor.

Registering A Death

If the death has been reported to the coroner(Procurator Fiscal in Scotland) you can’t register the death until the coroner gives permission. It is a criminal offence not to register a death.

You can register a death at any register office but if you use the one in the same area that the person died in, you can collect the documents immediately that you will need to enable you to arrange a funeral. You might need to make an appointment, so check this first. If you use a different register office the documents will need to be sent to the office in the area where the person died, which means that getting copies of the documents will take longer.

You should register the death within 5 days (8 days in Scotland)

Who Can Register A Death

A relative
Somebody who was present at the death
A hospital administrator
The person who is making the arrangements with the funeral directors

What You Will Need To Take With You

The medical certificate that has been signed by a doctor, that indicates the cause of death and something that proves the person who has died’s identity and proof of address.

What You Need To Know About The Person Who Has Died

Their full name, and any previous names, such as maiden name
Their date and place of birth
Their last address
The full name, date of birth and occupation of surviving or late spouse or civil partner
Details of a State Pension or any other benefits they were receiving

What You Will Receive

A certificate that gives permission for burial or cremation

A ‘Certificate of Registration of Death’ (you will be offered the opportunity to purchase more than one copy which may be needed to help you sort out the person’s affairs)

If a person dies abroad then the death needs to be registered in that country. The death should also be reported immediately to the British Consulate or Embassy. If the person died whilst travelling on a ship or aircraft, you must register the death in the country the ship or aircraft is registered in.

UK Government Tell us Once

The Department of Work and Pensions offer an online service called ‘Tell Us Once’, which means you don’t need to send a copy of the death certificate and various departments can be informed about the death.

Link to UK Governemt Tell Us Once web page.


Financial death notification service

The Death Notification Service is a free service which allows you to notify a number of banks and building societies (financial institutions) of a person’s death, at the same time.

Link to Death Notification Service web page.


Contact deceased’s solicitor if known

Arrange a funeral

You can use a funeral director or make arrangements yourself. There are many options now for funerals. You will need to consider the different options and costs involved. Sometimes funerals need to be arranged quickly after a death, due to religious beliefs, if this relevant speak to the registrar.


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