The registration of the death is the one part of the funeral arrangements that, as your funeral director, we legally cannot do for you. Here’s what’s involoved.
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 needed.
You can register a death once you have the relevant paperwork from either the doctor or the coroner.
- 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. The Registrar would normally only allow one of the other people listed above to register the death if there were no relatives available.
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. You can decide which office will be most convenient for you.
Oxfordshire 0345 241 2489 or click here
West Northamptonshire 0300 126 7000 or click here.
North Northamptonshire 0300 126 3000 or click here.
Warwickshire 0300 555 0255 or click here
The Registrar will contact Government Departments and local services on your behalf.
If you attend the registrar in possession of your loved one’s National Insurance number they will be able to cancel their state pension and council tax and remove them from the 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.
- 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.
The registrar will also ask you your name, address and relationship to the person whose death you are registering.
You may receive a certificate for burial or cremation (also known as the ‘green form’), which should be taken to your chosen funeral director.
You will be able to buy one or more death certificates. These are certified copies of the original register entry. They cost £11 each at the time of registration. 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 your loved one 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.
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, an inquest will be deemed necessary. This means, although there will be no appreciable delay to the funeral arrangements, you will not need to register the death, but instead will be issued with interim death certificates. From this point, the coroner will liaise with the registrar.
Medical certificate of the cause of death, unless the coroner is issuing the paperwork.
Bereavement Support Payment is available to you if your partner or spouse passed way before they were able to collect their state pension. You can check your eligibility by visiting the website or calling the helpline:
Funeral Expenses Payment This is a contribution towards funeral costs to help those who receive regular financial aid from the government. To check your eligibility visit the website:
Alternatively call the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469