All deaths in England and Wales must be registered within five days of them occurring. This period can be extended in exceptional circumstances and if the coroner is involved.
The registration must take place in the county where the death occurred. If this is not possible, a death can be registered in any county via a process known as ‘registration by declaration’ and we can guide you through how to do this if you need to.
You can only register a death once you have the Medical Cause of Death Certificate from the doctor or, in the case of a death reported to the coroner, confirmation from the coroner’s office that the relevant paperwork has been issued to us.
Who can register a death?
- A relative
Someone present at the death
- An occupant of the nursing/residential home/official from the hospital where the death took place
- The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors
- The person who found the body
Most deaths are registered by a relative of the deceased. The Registrar would normally only allow one of the other people listed above to register the death if there were no relatives available.
How do I contact the registrar?
In Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire there is a central office to contact to make an appointment to register a death. The death may then be registered at various offices throughout the relevant county, so you can decide which office will be most convenient for you.
Oxfordshire 0345 241 2489 or click here
Northamptonshire 03001 261000 or click here.
Warwickshire 0300 555 0255 or click here
What is the Tell Us Once service?
The Registrar will contact Government Departments and local services on your behalf.
If you attend the registrar in possession of the deceased person’s national insurance number they will be able to cancel their state pension, council tax and electoral roll.
If their passport or driving licence is still valid these can also be cancelled if you take them with you.
A blue disabled badge can also be returned to the registrar at this stage.
This free optional service will be offered at the time of making the registration appointment and it will add around ten minutes to the length of the appointment.
What information will I need about the deceased person?
- Their date and place of birth
- The date and place of death
- Their full name and any other names they are known by, or have been known by, including their maiden name
- Their last occupation (if the person was married, widowed or had formed a civil partnership, the full name and occupation of their spouse or civil partner).
- Their usual address
- Their National Insurance number
- Their driving licence and passport if valid
- Their blue disabled badge if they had one
- The date of birth of a surviving spouse or civil partner
- Details of any public sector pension, e.g. civil service, teacher or armed forces.
What information will I need about myself in order to register the death?
The registrar will ask you your name, address and relationship to the person whose death you are registering.
What documents will I need when registering a death?
Medical certificate of the cause of death, unless the coroner is issuing the paperwork.
What documents will I receive from the Registrar?
If a post-mortem examination is not being held, the Registrar will give you:
- A certificate for burial or cremation (also known as the ‘green form’), giving permission for the body to be buried or for an application for cremation to be made.
- If the deceased person is to be buried or cremated outside of England or Wales the coroner will issue the necessary forms.
What will I need death certificates for?
You will be able to buy one or more death certificates. These are certified copies of the original register entry. They cost four pounds each at the time of registration, although the fee increases sharply if further certificates are required at a later date. Copies produced yourself or by a third party will not be acceptable for official use so it is advisable to purchase sufficient copies on the day.
These certificates will be required by the executor or administrator of the estate as organisations holding any funds in the name of the deceased person which require claiming or the accounts closing will require an official copy.
The funds may be in the form of:-
- Bank accounts
- Private, workplace or service pensions
- Share holdings
- Insurance policies
Any organisation which you can take the certificate to in person will give it back to you immediately but it is advisable to purchase one each for any that need to be sent away as it may be some time before they are returned to you.
The Registrar will also offer you a leaflet called ‘What to do after a death in England or Wales’, giving advice on probate and administrative issues that will need to be organised around this time.
What happens if the death is referred to a Coroner?
If a death is reported to the coroner which does not need to be the subject of an inquest (when death is a result of natural disease or illness), a certificate giving the cause of death will be sent to the registrar of deaths on completion of the coroner’s enquiries. You can then go ahead and register the death, the appointment will likely be made for you by the coroner’s officer.
In a small number of cases – where the cause of death is unclear, sudden or suspicious the doctor or hospital or Registrar will report the death to the coroner. In this case registration of the death will be delayed as an inquest will need to be held.