When Someone Dies
It is quite normal for anyone to be unsure of what to do following a bereavement. We are here to support and to advise as you take those first steps.
Registering a Death
Registering a death is one duty a Funeral Director is unable to carry out on your behalf. A legally responsible person needs to complete this. This is
normally a relative, executor or someone present at the death. When attending the Register Office, you must take the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) which will
have been issued by a doctor. If available (but don't worry if not) it is also useful to have some of the following documents relating to the deceased person:
- Birth certificate
- NHS Medical Card
- Council Tax bill
- Driving licence
- Marriage or Civil Partnership certificate
- Proof of address (e.g. utility bill)
To register a death you will need to attend the Register Office where you will meet with the Registrar.
The Registrar will need the following information:
- The date and place of death
- The full name and any names previously used by the deceased including the maiden name if applicable
- The date and place of birth
- Their last address
- Their occupation
- The full name, date of birth and occupation of their spouse or civil partner
- If they were receiving a State Pension or any other benefit
When you register the death, you will receive the following:
- A certificate for Burial or Cremation (the Green Form) which gives permission for burial or an application for cremation. This enables you to arrange the funeral.
- A Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8). This is for use for social security purposes.
Both above forms are free of charge but now you can also request extra copies of the death certificate which will be useful for dealing with the deceased person's affairs.
These are available at the time for £4 each or if you request them at a later stage they will be £10 each. Be sure to purchase enough copies, you'll be surprised how many you may need.
If death has been reported to the coroner, you cannot register the death until you have their permission.
A death will be reported to the coroner if:
- The cause of death is unknown
- The death was violent or unnatural
- The death was sudden and unexplained
- The deceased was not visited by a medical practitioner during their final illness
- The medical certificate isn't available
- The deceased wasn't seen by the doctor who signed the medical certificate within 14 days before death or after they died
- The death occurred during an operation or before the person came out of anaesthetic
- The medical certificate suggests the death may have been caused by an industrial disease or industrial poisoning
After reviewing the case the coroner may decide the cause of death is clear and if this is the case:
- The doctor signs a medical certificate
- You take the medical certificate to the registrar
- The coroner issues a certificate to the registrar stating a post-mortem isn't needed
The coroner may ask for a post-mortem to be completed to find out how the person died.
When the post-mortem has been completed and no further examinations are necessary the coroner will allow the funeral to go ahead.
If an inquest is not required, the coroner will issue form 100B (the Pink Form) to the registrar which states the cause of death.
If the deceased is going to be cremated the coroner will also issue Cremation Form 6.
A coroner will hold an inquest if the cause of death is still unknown, or if the person:
- possibly died a violent or unnatural death
- died in prison or police custody
If this is necessary, the death cannot be registered until the inquest has been completed and the coroner is responsible for sending the relevant paperwork to the registrar.
Although the death cannot be registered until after the inquest, the coroner can give you an interim death certificate to confirm the person has passed. This can be used to
notify organisations of the death and to apply for probate.
The funeral can still go ahead as the coroner will supply to the funeral director an Order for Burial (form 101) or Certificate of Coroner (Cremation form 6).
Tell Us Once
Tell Us Once is a service available via the Register Office which enables you to notify government departments/organisations all in one go.
Using this scheme takes a lot of worry away from you and avoids you having to send multiple copies of the Death Certificate.
For this to be possible you'll need the following information:
- Date of Birth
- National Insurance Number
- Driving Licence Number
- Passport Number
- Details of any benefits or entitlements they were getting e.g. State Pension
- Details of any council services they were getting e.g. Blue Badge
- Name and address of their next of kin
- Name and address of any surviving spouse or civil partner
- Name, address and contact details of the individual or company dealing with their estate
- Details of any armed forces or public sector pensions they were receiving or paying in to
Tell Us Once will notify the following departments/organisations:
- Department for Work & Pensions
- HM Revenue & Customs
- Council Tax Office
- Passport Services
- Housing Benefit Office
- Children's Services
- Electoral Services
- Armed forces or public sector pensions.