How do I register a death and obtain a death certificate for a family member?

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    Following the death of a family member, you will need to obtain a death certificate in order to make the funeral arrangements and to manage their estate.

    Before obtaining a death certificate, you must first register the death. This can be done at the local register office in the district where your relative died. You can find their nearest register office by entering the postcode of the place of death, on

    If your family member died at home or in a hospital in the UK, and their death was expected, you should register their death within five days from the time of death (or eight days if in Scotland).

    If your family member died abroad, you should register their death with the local authorities in the relevant country.

    In the UK, it is advisable to make an appointment at the register office as soon as possible after the death of your family member, as there is often a waiting list.

    If you are not available to attend the appointment yourself, another person can register the death, as long as they were there at the time of death, or if they are responsible for arranging the funeral. Alternatively, an administrator from the hospital where the person died is permitted to register the death.

    If the death has been reported to a coroner, and the cause of death is clear, the doctor will then sign a medical certificate, which you should take to the registrar. The coroner will also issue a certificate to the registrar, stating that a post-mortem is not required.

    If you are unhappy about the cause of death given, or if you are still unsure yourself about what the cause is, you should report it to a coroner. In addition, if the death appears suspicious to the police or the doctor, they may report to a coroner, who will then do a post-mortem. A coroner is a doctor or lawyer appointed by the local authority to investigate certain deaths.

    If a post-mortem is needed, the coroner will send a ‘Pink Form’ (Form 100B) to the registrar once they have completed the post-mortem. This will state the cause of death. If the body is to be cremated, the coroner will send a ‘Certificate of Coroner – Form Cremation 6.’

    If the coroner deems it necessary to have an inquest in order to determine the cause of death, you have the right to request an interim death certificate while the inquest is being conducted. Following the inquest, the coroner will confirm the cause of death to the registrar and then you can obtain a death certificate.

    For further details, go to:

    During your appointment at the register office to register the death, it is essential that you produce the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, which has been provided by the hospital where your relative died or by their GP. Without it, you will not be able to register the death nor go on to obtain a death certificate. The registrar may also ask to see some of the following documents belonging to the deceased:

    • Birth certificate
    • Council tax bill
    • Driving licence
    • Marriage/civil partnership certificate
    • NHS card
    • Passport
    • Proof of address

    The registrar will ask you for information about your deceased relative, which normally includes:

    • Their full name
    • Any previously used names
    • The date and place of their birth
    • Their last address
    • Their occupation
    • Details of their late spouse or civil partner
    • Details of their state pension, or any other benefits they may have

    Once you have supplied all the relevant information, the registrar will issue you with a Certificate of Registration of Death. You may need to fill this in and return it if the deceased was getting a state pension or benefits.

    You will be given the Death Certificate within about half an hour of registering the death. A Death Certificate costs £11.00 in England and Wales, £8.00 in Northern Ireland and £10.00 in Scotland. It is advisable to pay for extra copies of the certificate on the day of your appointment, as you will need to give these to insurance companies, the deceased’s bank, their pension companies and to the executor or administrator of their Will. If you request extra copies at a later date, they will be sent to you after 14 working days. The Priority Service enables you to order copies which will be delivered to you the next working day, and this costs £23.40.

    Your local registrar will also be able to show you how to use the ‘Tell Us Once’ service, which enables you to report the death to most government organisations in one go. You can access this service if the death has been registered in the UK or in a Commonwealth Country, a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in Switzerland. Find out more at

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