When someone close to us passes away there are a certain amount of decisions that need to be made. Bereavement is a distressing time but we are on hand to offer all the advice and assistance you need. Below is a helpful list to provide you with some information and guidance on the initial requirements and processes following the passing of a loved one.
All deaths need to be registered with the registrar for births, deaths and marriages within 5 days of a persons death. This might be extended by the registar if they agree to an extension or if the death has been referred to the coroner.
A medical certificate is required in order to register a death. This can be provided by a GP or a doctor at a hospital (if the person was in hospital at the time of their passing) and they have seen the person within a 14 day period and the death was expected.
However there are cirumstances in which the doctor might not be able to issue a medical certificate. These are:
- If the doctor is unsure of the cause of death
- The death was sudden, violent or caused by an accident.
- The death occurred whilst the patient was undergoing an operation.
- The death was connected to an industrial disease.
In these circumstances the coroner will need to be notified of the death. If the coroner sees no need to investigate the death further the doctor will then be able to issue the medical certificate. If the coroner decides that a post-mortem examination is required in order to determine the cause of death, this will be carried out by the coroner and the relevant documents will then be sent directly to the registrar.
In some situations an inquest might be requested by the coroner if:
- The death was violent
- The death was caused by an accident
- The person took their own life
- No cause of death has been established
What you’ll need to register a death
You must take the issued medical certificate which shows the cause of death with you when you visit the registrar. If possible you should also try to bring the deceased’s:
- NHS Medical Card
- Birth Certificate
- Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement etc)
- Driving license
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
- National Insurance Number
These are not absolutley essential but they help provide much of the additional information you may need for the registration. You will still be able to register the death without them and they will not delay the registration if you cannot find the paperwork.
When you visit the registrar they will also want to know:
- The persons full name
- Any other names that the person used. Including maiden name of a married woman, any former married names or names that the deceased was know by and can be recorded.
- Their place and date of birth including town and county if they were born in the UK. If they were born outside of the UK the country of birth will be sufficient
- Their occupation or their last occupation if the person was retired
- Date and place of the death
- Details of their wife, husband or civil partner
- If they were receiving a government pension or any state benefits
Who can register a death?
A death can be registered by:
- Anyone who was present at the death.
- A relative who was present during the person’s death or in attendance during their final period of illness.
- A relative living in the registry office district where the death occured.
- An owner or occupier of the part of the building where the death took place if they knew of the occurance of death.
- The person arranging the funeral except the funeral director.
- An official from the hospital or hospice where the death occurred.
What the Registar will provide
A certified copy of the death certificate
You will most likely need a number of copies of the certificate and these can be obtained for a small fee to the registrar. These copies are usually needed by banks / building societies, insurance companies or pension providers. Photocopies of the certificate are not normally accepted by legal, financial or insurance companies.
A certificate for burial or cremation
Often referred to as the ‘green form’, this is normally passed to the funeral director by the person making the arrangements and allows the burial or cremation to proceed. This might not be issued in certain circumstances when the coroner has been involved, instead a separate certificate will be issued directly to the funeral director by the coroner.
A certificate for the Department of Work & Pensions (BD8 Form – Registration or Notification of Death in England)
This is to ensure any pensions or benefits of the deceased are stopped and processed accordingly.
This form is needed to apply to the social fund for help towards funeral expenses. The decision is based upon the benefits of the deceased’s next of kin.
Reducing unwanted mail
Receiving unwanted direct mail (Junk Mail) in the deceased’s name can be distressing. There are free services available which drastically reduce the amount of direct mail delivered and are a good idea as they help reduce the risk of identity fraud using the deceased’s name and will reduce the number of companies you will need to contact.