Who can register a death?
Usually, a close relative would be the one to register a death: a spouse, child, parent or sibling of the person who died. If a close relative is not able to do it, the person who registers a death could be:
- Any relative, including in-laws
- Someone who was with the person when they died
- Someone who lives at, or is responsible for, the address where the person died
- The person who is taking care of the funeral arrangements (not the funeral director, though)
In Northern Ireland, the death can also be registered by:
- A governor, matron or chief officer of the public building where the person died
- The executor or administrator of the estate (applicable if registering a death in Scotland as well)
- Someone who has found or is taking charge of the body
Where to register a death
In England or Wales the death needs to be registered at the register office for the district in which the death occurred. You can go to a different office if it is more convenient, but the process will take a bit longer as the Registrar will need to forward your information to the original district where the Registrar will issue and send out the death certificate and other paperwork. You can obtain the address of the local Register Office or Registrar by visiting GOV.UK.
You can expect the appointment to take about 30 minutes. Staff at the registry office will understand if you get upset. While they do their best to make this a quick and easy process, it’s a good idea to bring someone with you for support.
What do you need to register a death?
When registering a death, the only document you need is the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death given to you by the hospital or the GP who attended to the person when they died.
However, it may be helpful to take a few of the following documents if available:
- Birth certificate
- NHS medical card or number
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Proof of address (such as a utility bill or bank statement)
- Driving licence
- Council tax bill
If you do not have all of these, do not worry – they are not essential. As long as you can provide the information below, they are not needed:
- The full name of the person who died
- Their maiden name, if applicable
- Their date and place of birth
- The date and place of death
- Their address
- Their marital status
- Their most recent occupation
- The full name, occupation and date of birth of their spouse or civil partner
- The full names, occupations and dates of birth of their parents, if the person who died was a child
- The name and address of their GP
- Their benefits status, including details of any pensions