Registering a Death

How to register a death and obtain a Death Certificate

Last updated: 27 July 2017

Before the burial or cremation can take place, you need to register your loved one’s death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. You will need to do this within five days if you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or within eight days if you are in Scotland.

You should register your loved one’s death at a registration office within the district where your loved one died. You may need to book an appointment with the registrar in advance, as the process can take around half an hour.

The registration of a death can be made by a relative, someone present at the death or the person making the funeral arrangements.

What you will need when registering a death

To register the death, you will need your loved one’s Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and provide the following personal details about them:

  • Their full name
  • Their maiden name or any previous names
  • Their last address
  • Their place and date of birth
  • The place and date of death
  • Their occupation
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of their spouse
  • Information about any benefits or state pension they were receiving

You will also need to provide two forms of identification for yourself and two for your loved one. Having the following documents can help:

  • Birth certificate
  • Council tax bill
  • Driving licence
  • Marriage or Civil Partnership Certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • Proof of address
  • Passport

The Death Certificate and the Certificate for Burial or Cremation

Once you have registered the death of your loved one, you will be issued the Death Certificate and the Certificate for Burial or Cremation. You will need to pay a small fee for the Death Certificate, starting from around £4, depending on your location in the UK. The Certificate for Burial or Cremation is free.

These documents are needed before you can proceed with the funeral arrangements. Only after the funeral director is shown these documents can the funeral service take place. If your loved one’s death is being investigated by a coroner, the coroner may issue an interim death certificate so that the funeral can take place.

Be aware that copies of these documents may be needed when dealing with your loved one’s estate. Photocopies are not accepted, they must be official copies, available from the registry office or from a national registration office. Consider this when deciding how many copies to order. Charges do apply and vary depending on the office.