How to Register a Death - Funeral Advise

Usually it is a family member that will register the death. However if a relative is not available the law allows certain other people to register:

  • Someone present at death
  • Someone who lived in the house where the person died
  • The person responsible for making funeral arrangements i.e. executor
  • A responsible person from the hospital or home where the person died

When a death occurs it must be registered within 5 days and with the registrar for the area in which the death took place.

Documentation you will need

The medical certificate of cause of death issued by the hospital or GP if the person died at home or in private residential care. If the coroner is involved he will issue the form for registration and send it to the register office once a post mortem has taken place.

Information you may need:

  • The date and place of death
  • The NHS number of the person that has died
  • The full name of the person that has died
  • Any other names the person may have been known by, for example if the person has changed their name by deed poll
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their occupation and whether they were retired
  • Their usual address
  • Their surname before marriage or civil partnership
  • The full name and occupation of the wife, husband or civil partner

You will also need to give your full name and address and state your relationship to the deceased.

Local Register Office Details

The Guild Hall, Bath / The Hollies, Midsomer Norton 01225 477234 / Frome: 01373 468887 / Wiltshire: 01225 713007

Documentation provided by the registrar

  • A green form to be given to the funeral director allowing the funeral to proceed
  • A white form (BD8) to be sent to the Dept of Work and Pensions giving details of pension or benefits
  • A death certificate, there will be a minimal charge for this

H.M. Coroner

There are a number of reasons why a death may have to be referred to the coroner and, depending on the circumstances, requires special procedure. However, these should not give cause for undue alarm.

The Coroner is a judicial officer, independent of local and central government, who is required to act in accordance with certain laws. Any sudden or unexplained death must be reported to the Coroner who must then ascertain the cause of death and investigate any unusual circumstance.

Sometimes the Coroner may be able to ascertain by simple enquiry whether the death was due to natural causes and allow a doctor to issue the death certificate. If this is not the case a post-mortem examination may be held.

The post-mortem examination will usually indicate the cause of death and in this case the Coroner will issue the relevant paper work to the registrar and funeral director, allowing the funeral to proceed. However, if no obvious cause of death is found, toxicology may be required.

If the death is not due to natural causes (for example a road traffic accident) the Coroner is obliged to hold an INQUEST. This enquiry is to determine:

  • The identity of the person
  • When, where and how the death occurred
  • The cause of death

The inquest may often be adjourned for several weeks while the relevant information is gathered. However, the Coroner will issue the relevant documentation for burial or cremation and provide the next of kin with an Interim Death Certificate until the inquest is finalised, this certificate can be used for bank and insurance purposes.

The funeral director is fully conversant in this area and will liaise with the Coroner on your behalf.

Probate

When someone dies somebody has to deal with their estate (money, possessions and property left) by collecting all the money, paying debts and distributing what remains to those who are entitled to it.

Probate is the court's authority; given to a person or persons to administer the deceased's estate and the document issued is called the Grant of Representation. This document is usually required by the asset holders as proof to show the correct person or persons have the probate services' authority to administer the deceased person's estate.

The probate service deals with 'non-contentious' probate business and issues Grants of Representation, either:

  • Probate (when a deceased person has left a valid will and an executor is acting)
  • Letters of administration with a will (when a person has left a valid will but no executor is acting)
  • Letters of administration (usually when there is no valid will)

These grants appoint people known as personal representatives to administer the deceased person's estate.

For further information on this you may want to look at the Probate Service website.