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Death & Funerals



Deaths should normally be registered within five days unless a coroner's report is required in which case the death cannot be registered until the requisite paperwork is received from the coroner's office.


If no coroner's report is required you must take the medical certificate showing the cause of death, signed by a doctor. If the deceased died at home contact their GP to get the certificate. If the deceased died in hospital the hospital should provide the medical certificate.


Deaths can, in theory, be registered at any register office however if you use the register office in the area where death occurred you will normally get all the documents you need on the day. 

If you use another register office it may take a few days for the papers to come through and delay the funeral.

To make an appointment with your local register office follow this link:

Register a Death


Deaths can be registered by a relative, someone present at the death, an administrator from the hospital or the person making the funeral arrangements, which could be a personal representative or their agent.


Whilst it is normal for the family to register the death and arrange the funeral that is not always the case especially where there are no surviving family or the surviving family are unable to do so. The registrar will normally prefer a family member if possible.



If no coroner's report is required you must take the medical certificate showing the cause of death, signed by a doctor.


If available supporting paperwork should be taken which might include:

  • Birth certificate

  • Driving licence

  • Passport

  • Marriage certificate

  • Proof of address (council tax bill)

  • National Insurance number


This helps ensure that the correct person is registered. In many counties you can request that all relevant governmental agencies are informed of the death at this registration by using the 'Tell Us Once' scheme.

Tell Us Once


You will also need to provide the registrar with the deceased's full name at death and any other names they have previously used, the date and place of birth, their last address, their occupation, the full name of any surviving spouse or civil partner and details of any state benefits they were receiving.




You will receive the 'Green form' which is the certificate that gives permission for burial or cremation, form BD8 - a certificate for the benefits agency, and a death certificate.

It is advisable to obtain a number of copies of the death certificate as this will be useful in administering the estate. It is cheaper and quicker to obtain these at the time the death is registered rather than at a later date.

Most organisations will require an original death certificate as some point so you may need 5-10 or more.




The family will usually make the funeral arrangements however this may be something the personal representatives or their agent will need to do. In law the executor has the right and duty to dispose of the remains of the dead and if there is no family it may well fall to  them.


Firstly the person arranging the funeral should look to see if the deceased has left any specific instructions as to their funeral either in the will or in other documentation. It is normal for Buddhists and Hindus to be cremated, Muslims and Orthodox Jews buried, some Christians prefer burial others cremation. The deceased may also have left instructions as regards organ donation.

You will need to get permission from the coroner to move a body outside of  England  or Wales for burial or cremation.

You can search for your nearest funeral director at:

Funeral Directors

Your chosen funeral director will be able to guide you through the process.




If the deceased had appointed an attorney under a power of attorney or the Courts had appointed a Deputy they should be notified as their powers cease on death.



If someone dies abroad then the death will need to be registered in the county where death occurred. In many countries you will also have the option to register the death with UK authorities in that country.

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