Probate – How do you Register a Death?

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How to register a death

Following the loss of a loved one, you must formally register their death with a local registrar. 

Registering the death of a loved one is a straightforward process.  Here, we explain what needs to be done.  We have assumed for the purposes of this guide that there are no complicating factors surrounding the death, and that a medical practitioner has issued the ‘medical certificate’ giving the cause and date of death.

Who can register a death?

A relative should ideally register the death.  Failing that, the persons allowed to are:-

  • someone present when the death occurred
  • an administrator from a hospital (if the death occurred at hospital)
  • you are in charge of ‘making funeral arrangements’ (this would include executors)

Where can you register a death?

You should register the death at a Registry Office local to where the person died.  Check out the Find a register office service here on the Govt website.

You should contact the relevant office and make an appointment to attend to register the death.

What will I need to tell the Registrar?

You will need to give the registrar the following information about the deceased:

  • full names
  • any previously used names (inc maiden names)
  • date and place of birth
  • last address
  • occupation
  • full names, d.o.b. and occupation of spouse/civil partner (whether they have predeceased or survived)
  • whether they were getting any benefits eg state pension

What documents will the Registrar want?

The registrar will tell you what documents they will want to see when you make the appointment.  It will include ID for yourself as the person registering the death.  It will also include the medical certificate (giving cause and date of death).  They may ask for some of the following for the deceased:

  • birth certificate
  • driving licence
  • passport
  • NHS medical card
  • council tax bill
  • marriage/civil partnership certificate
  • proof of address (eg a utility bill)

What documents will the Registrar give me?

Once the registration is complete, you’ll be given:

  • green form (to give to the funeral directors – it gives permission to bury or cremate the body)
  • death certificates (it is worth getting more than you need as it is cheaper to buy them at this point than later down the line. If you do need more, they can order more death certificates here on the Govt website)
  • tell us once form (to notify in one go the various govt agencies eg HMRC, benefits office, and so on

What happens after Registering a death?

The green form should be given to the funeral directors.  They cannot bury or cremate the body without it.

The death certificates will allow the executors to start to make contact with banks etc to ‘establish the estate’.

The ‘tell us once’ forms will include the necessary information to complete the Govt – Tell us Once online form.

Expert Probate Solicitors

We hope that you found this and our many other guides and articles helpful.  Please remember that they (and any comments left) are NOT legal advice, and should not be taken as such.  But, our expert probate solicitors are here to help, and so if you do need advice specific to you – please reach out!  You can leave a comment below, call us, or email – whichever suits you best.

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