Find a funeral director
Compare funeral directors near you Compare funeral directors near you

Registering a Death

How to register a death and obtain a Death Certificate

Last updated: 16 January 2020

A clipboard with some paper on it and a pair of round spectacles on top of that

Photo by Rawpixel on Pexels

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. The fees vary depending on your location in the UK. Deaths certificates cost £11 in England and Wales, £10 in Scotland and £8 in Northern Ireland. 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 multiple copies of these documents may be needed when dealing with your loved one’s estate. Only official copies, not photocopies, are accepted. The fees for death certificates ordered at a later date are higher, so you should consider this when deciding how many copies to order when you register your loved one's death.

Comprehensive listings to compare funeral directors near you Compare funeral directors near you

113,610 verified reviews