Registering a Death

A death that occurs in England, Wales or Northern Ireland must be registered within five days of it happening and also in the district where the death took place. If this is not possible, information regarding the death may be given in the form of a ‘declaration’ at any other register office in England and Wales, which will then be forwarded to the relevant Registrar. This may, however, delay funeral arrangements as the appropriate paperwork and death certificates will then be issued by post.

For the death to be registered, you need to present the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) from a doctor. However, if the death has been referred to the Coroner, it cannot be registered until the Registrar has received confirmation from the Coroner to proceed with the registration.

Who can register a death?

Normally, a death should be registered by one of the following people:

  • A close relative of the deceased.
  • A person present at the death.
  • A person who lives at the address where the death occurred.
  • The person responsible for the funeral (but not the undertaker).

When making an appointment at the Registrar’s Office, check that you are planning to go to the correct office, since regulations across the UK about where you can register a death may vary. Also, do ask if the person planning to register the death is entitled to do so. If the death has occurred in the Shropshire Council Area, you should either make an appointment on line by visiting www.shropshire.gov.uk/registrar.nsf (please note if the coroner has been involved you will not be able to make an appointment online) or by telephone on 0345 678 9016.

What information will you need to provide about the deceased?

  • The date and place of the death.
  • The date and place of the person’s birth.
  • The full name and any other names of the deceased (and maiden surname, if applicable).
  • The former occupation of the deceased.
  • The full name of his/her husband/wife/civil partner and their occupation, if applicable.
  • The address of the person who has died.
  • Information regarding any public section pension.
  • If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of his/her husband/wife/civil partner.
  • If available, please provide the National Health Service number of the deceased and also his/her NHS medical card.
  • It is helpful if you have the National Insurance number of the deceased and that of a surviving spouse or civil partner.
  • If available, you should bring the deceased’s birth certificate, marriage certificate and passport, just so the information given at the Registration can be confirmed. However, these documents are not essential to register the death.
  • If you are registering at a Shropshire Council Registration Office please bring along any blue badges or bus passes, which will be collected and returned to the relevant department for you.

What information will you need to provide about yourself when registering the death?

  • Your relationship to the deceased.
  • Your full name.
  • Your usual address.

What documents will you receive from the Registrar?

Certified copies of the death certificate: you can purchase as many copies of this certificate as you wish and these copies are considered the “original death certificate” (as banks and others may request to see), even though the official term is “certified copies of the death certificate”. As a general rule, it is advisable to purchase one for each bank account, building society and share holding of the deceased. It is cheaper to purchase certificates on the day of registration as costs increase from that point onwards.

Please note that it is illegal to make your own copies of the certificate for copyright reasons and many organisations will not accept photocopies as formal evidence of the death. In the case of an inquest taking place, the death cannot be registered until after the inquest and the Coroner will issue you with an Interim Certificate of the Fact of Death, which may be used instead of certified copies.

Certificate of Registration / Notification of Death: this form is sometimes referred to as “the BD8” and the back of it needs to be filled in and sent to the Department of Work and Pensions to notify them of the death, if the deceased received a state pension or any other benefits. This form is free of charge and the Registrar may give you an envelope to post the certificate out. Alternatively, this form can be handed in at a JobCentre Plus office.

Certificate of burial or cremation: this is commonly referred to as “the green form” and it serves as proof to the funeral director and the cemetery or crematorium authorities that a funeral may take place.  If an inquest is underway or there has been a post-mortem examination which is to be followed by cremation then this form will be replaced by a document from the Coroner.