Registering a Death

By law, a death must be registered within five days (eight days in Scotland) at the Register Office local to the area in which the person died. It is advisable to ring the Register Office beforehand to make an appointment.

The Registrar’s Office in Essex is contactable on 0845 603 7632 Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday 9am-12pm.

The following people can register a death:

  • Any relative of the person who has died
  • Any person present at the death
  • A person who lives in the house where the person died
  • The person arranging the funeral, but not a funeral director

To register the death, you need to have a simple interview with the Registrar at the Register Office. You will need to tell the Registrar:

  • The full name (and maiden name if appropriate) of the person who has died
  • The deceased’s address
  • The deceased’s date of birth and place of birth
  • Details of where and when the person died
  • Their occupation (if any)
  • Name, occupation, date of birth of spouse/civil partner (if relevant)
  • Whether the deceased was receiving a pension or allowance from public funds eg state pension or social security benefits

Documents and Certification

You will need to give the Registrar:

  • The Medical certificate of the Cause of Death (signed by a doctor) – this is essential
  • The deceased person’s NHS Medical Card, if available
  • The deceased person’s birth certificate, marriage or Civil Partnership Certificates if available. There is no need to take the birth certificate or marriage certificate when registering, providing you know the deceased’s date and place of birth.

The Registrar will issue you with:

  • The Green Form (A Certificate for Burial or Cremation), which you should give to your funeral director, so that the funeral can be held. If the death was referred to the Coroner, other procedures may apply. The Registrar will explain these to you.
  • A Certificate of Registration of Death, which you should fill in and send to the Department for Work and Pensions (formerly social security office) for the area where the person died

Please note slightly different procedures and forms apply if you are registering a stillborn baby (born dead after the 24th week of pregnancy).

The Death Certificate

The Death Certificate is a certified copy of the entry in the death register and you may need several copies for official purposes such as the will, pension schemes, insurers, closing bank accounts etc.

You can buy copies of the Death Certificate from the Registrar for a small fee at the time of registration or later although the cost increases if you ask for copies later.