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Advice at a time of need

When someone dies

It is usual for people to be unsure of what to do in the immediate aftermath of a bereavement.
We take you through the initial steps and provide advice on other things you may need to think about when someone you know dies.

Registering a death

In most cases you will need to register the death within five days and it is best to visit the register office in the area in which the person died. This will help avoid delays getting the necessary documents. The following people can register a death:

  • Any relative of the person who has died
  • Any person present at the death
  • A person who lives in the house where the person died
  • The person arranging the funeral, but not a funeral director.

To register the death you need to have a simple interview with the registrar at the register office. You will need to give the registrar:

  • The full name of the person who has died
  • Their full address
  • Their date of birth
  • The person arranging the funeral, but not a funeral director.
  • Their occupation (if any)

If the person who has died is a married woman, you will need to give her maiden name and her husband’s full name and occupation.

Documents and certification you will need to give the registrar:

  • Certificate of Cause of Death (signed by a doctor).

You should also bring the following documents where applicable:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage/Civil Partnership Certificates
  • NHS Medical Card.

At the register office the registrar will issue you with:

  • A Certificate for Burial or Cremation (known as a green form), which you should give to your funeral director as soon as possible
  • A Certificate of Registration of Death, which you should fill in and send to the social security office for the area where the person died.

You can buy copies of the Death Certificate (sometimes known as the Entry of Death form) from the registrar for a small fee, which varies from region to region. You will need these for official purposes such as closing bank accounts and pension schemes.