How to register the Death

Registering a death is an essential legal obligation after losing a loved one. This compassionate guide gently outlines the procedures for properly obtaining a certified death certificate - a crucial document for handling the deceased's affairs.

Registering the death of a loved one is one of the first steps that needs to be taken after their passing, usually within 5 days. Here is what you need to know if the death occurred in the UK:

Who Can Register the Death?

A relative or family member
Someone present at the time of death
An occupant of the house where the death occurred
An official from the hospital where the death occurred
The person making the funeral arrangements

What You Need

Medical certificate signed by doctor or coroner
Deceased’s NHS medical card (if available)
Birth and marriage certificates (if available)
Council tax bill, driving license, passport or proof of address

The Registration Process

Make an appointment with the registrar in the area where the death occurred. If you are unable to visit the registrar in the area where the death occurred, ask for a registration ‘By Declaration’. This relies on the Royal Mail or courier so allow extra time for this to take place. Provide the required documents listed above. The registrar will ask questions about the deceased, such as date/place of death, full name, home address, occupation, pension/allowance details, spouse’s date of birth if married. This process takes around 30 minutes.

After Registration

You will receive:

A death certificate usually at a cost of £11. Extra copies can be obtained for a fee for legal/financial purposes
A green certificate for burial/cremation for the funeral director
A white certificate to cancel pension/allowance payments

Have all the deceased’s details ready beforehand as the process can be emotional. The staff at the registry office will guide you through each step. Let them know if you need any special accommodations for religious reasons.

Death occurred abroad?

If the death occurred abroad, there are different rules:

Registering the death according to the regulations in the country where the person died is required. You’ll be given an official local death certificate.

This foreign death certificate will be accepted in the UK. If it’s not in English, you need to have it officially translated by an approved translator.

Register a Death Abroad with UK Authorities (Optional)

For deaths on or after 1 Jan 1983, you can also register the death with UK authorities. This records the death with the General Register Offices or National Records of Scotland and allows you to order a consular death registration certificate from the UK (costs £50 per certificate). You do not need to register with UK authorities to use the Tell Us Once service

Fees for Registering Abroad with UK

£150 to register the death
£50 per consular death registration certificate (optional)
£5-£25 fee to have documents returned to you, depending on country

If the person died on a foreign ship or aircraft, you must register the death in the country the ship or aircraft is registered in.