Legal requirements

When someone passes away you should register their death at the Registrar’s Office within the district where the death has occurred.

Generally, all deaths should be registered within five days – unless H. M. Coroner is informed – in which case please feel free to contact us and we can advise you as appropriate to your particular circumstances.

If you have any concerns about registering the death after you have read the following notes, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0121 476 9111.

You can call our 24 hour call out service on

0121 476 9111

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Who can register a death

In most circumstances, a relative may register the death, but if that is not possible then the following people may also be considered appropriate:

  • a person present at the death
  • the occupier of the premises where the death occurred if he or she knew about it
  • the person arranging the funeral (this does not include the Funeral Director)

You will need to make an appointment to attend the Registrar’s Office by telephoning or e-mailing the relevant office.

It will take approximately 40 minutes to complete the registration procedure during your appointment.

 

What you need to take to the Registrar

  1. You will need to ask the Doctor for a ‘Medical Certificate of Cause of Death’ and then take this with you. The Registrar will keep this document and issue a ‘Death Certificate’ in its place.
  2. If you can find it, you should take the Medical Card which belonged to the person who has passed away. Please do not worry if you can’t locate the Medical Card.
  3. It may be helpful (but not essential) for you to take the Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate which belonged to the person who has passed away as these contain information you may find helpful.

 

Questions the Registrar might ask you

The Registrar might ask you some questions regarding the death. It will help if you can find out the answers to the following points prior to visiting the Registrar’s Office:

  1. Date and place of death
  2. Full name of the person who has died (this should be the name they used at the time of their death)
  3. Any other names they may have been known by (including any maiden names)
  4. Date and place of their birth
  5. Their occupation and whether they were retired
  6. Their usual home address
  7. (If married) the full name and occupation of the deceased’s wife, husband or civil partner
  8. Your full name and address
  9. Your relationship to the person who died, for example, son, daughter, widow, widower, surviving civil partner, niece, nephew, or the person making the funeral arrangements

You will also be asked to answer some additional questions which the registrar collects to add to government statistics and which is kept confidential. This may vary from time to time.

  1. Was the person who died married or in a civil partnership?
  2. If their husband or wife or civil partner is still living, what is their date of birth?
  3. How long did the person stay in hospital or other establishment, for example a hospice?
  4. Was the person under 75? If they were, what industry did they work in?
  5. Did they get a pension paid from government funds? This includes the civil service, teachers, armed forces and war widows. This does not include the state pension or pension credits. You will be asked this so that the Registrar can let the relevant department know the person has died

Registrar questions checklist

What documents you need from the Registrar

  1.  Copies of ‘The Death Certificate’ (there is a fee of £11 payable for each copy)
  2. A ‘Certificate of Registration/Notification of Death’. This is issued free of charge and you should complete it and send it to the Department for Work and Pensions to bring up to date any pensions or benefits of the person who has passed away; we can help you with this
  3. A ‘Green Coloured Certificate’ – this is issued free of charge and must be handed to us as soon as possible otherwise the funeral arrangements may be delayed

Many Registrar’s Offices operate a ‘Tell us once’ facility which serves to advise governmental and local council services when someone has passed away. You can ask the Registrar about this when you have your appointment or visit www.gov.uk/tell-us-once for more information.

 

Who else needs to be notified

When someone passes away it is important to notify all the people who need to know. This will help reduce unwanted correspondence. The ‘Tell us once’ facility serves to advise governmental and local council services when someone has passed away: www.gov.uk/tell-us-once.

You may also find it useful to visit www.the-bereavement-register.org.uk where you can register the death of a friend or relative by completing a straight forward online form. This register aims to stop unwanted direct mail addressed to the deceased.

However, there is generally a long list of people to notify outside of the government and local authority so we have compiled a checklist to help you in this task. Download our notifying people checklist.

A huge thank you to Morton's for providing an incredibly professional, yet caring and supportive service helping us to arrange the funerals for both my parents at different times. I could not fault their professionalism and the guidance that we received. Thank you.

Ruth Andrews Rating: 5
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