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End of life issues

Registering a death

When somebody dies, you normally need to register their death within five days. When you're trying to cope with the loss of the person you cared for, this can seem a hard thing to do. But knowing how to do it and where to get more information can help.

The death has to be registered at a register office. It's best to go to the register office in the area where the person you cared for died. If you go to another office it may take longer to get the documents needed and slow down the funeral arrangements.

When you get the medical certificate, ask for the address of the local register office. You can search online to find the local register office online, or look in the local phone book. Many register offices only see people by appointment, so phone before you go and make an appointment if you need to.

Registering a death takes about half an hour.

In most cases a death is registered by a relative. If the person you cared for doesn't have any family who can register their death, the registrar will allow other people to do this. As long as the person died at home or in hospital, their death can be registered by someone who was with them when they died, someone who lived in the same house, an official from the hospital, or the person who is arranging the funeral with the funeral directors.


You will need to take some documents with you when you go to register a death. You need the medical certificate, showing the cause of death and signed by a doctor. If you can find them, you should also take their birth certificate, their marriage or civil partnership certificate, and their NHS medical card, but these are not essential.


The registrar will require the following information from you:

  • The person’s full name as it was when they died.
  • Any names they used in the past, including their maiden name.
  • Their date and place of birth (town and county if born in the UK and country if born abroad).
  • Their last address.
  • Their occupation.
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of their surviving wife, husband or civil partner.
  • Details of any state pension or other state benefit they were receiving.

The registrar will give you two important documents. One is a Certificate for Burial and Cremation, also known as the green form. This gives permission for the person’s body to be buried or for an application for cremation to be made. Give this to the funeral director.

You will also be given a Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8, also known as a death certificate). This is for use in social security matters; for instance, dealing with the deceased person's state pension or other benefits.

You can buy extra copies of the death certificate when you register a death. You will need these to give to the executor or administrator who is dealing with affairs such as the person's will. The registrar will give you a booklet that contains advice on several subjects, including paying for the funeral, probate and property, and other practical advice.

The booklet also has information on what to do if the person you cared for died abroad, or in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

For more information see GOV:UK: what to do after someone dies.


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

tek300 said on 04 November 2014

This article doesn't mention that sometimes there will be a branch of the local registry office located in a hospital. These branches might not show up on the Directgov website linked to here, but it appears to be a requirement to register the death at such branches where the death occurred in that hospital and wasn't referred to the coroner. If registering a death of someone who died in a hospital, contact that hospital's bereavement service for advice before making an appointment with a register office.

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Page last reviewed: 15/08/2012

Next review due: 15/08/2014

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