Why Do I Have To Register The Death?

All deaths have to be registered, and the people closest to the deceased have a legal obligation to do this.  Deaths in England and Wales or Northern Ireland should be registered within 5 days – if this is not going to be possible, you should inform the Registrar.  In Scotland, deaths must be registered within 8 days.

Which Registrar’s Office Should I Go To?

In England and Wales, the death has to be registered at the Registrar’s Office in the district where the death occurred.  This is the case even if the death occurred a distance from home.  However, there is a facility available to attend your local registrar’s office to register a death that occurred in another area.  This is called ‘Registration by Declaration’, and involves the two Registrars transferring documents between them.  In ALL cases, an appointment to attend the Registrar must be made in advance – please see below.

What Do I Need To Register The Death?

When registering a death that was expected and that has occurred in England or Wales, you will need the following documents:-

  1. the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death from the doctor who was treating the deceased during the last illness;
  2. The Medical Card of the Deceased – if available do not delay registering the death if you cannot find it – the Registrar will explain to you what to do if the Medical Card is subsequently found.

Other information you will be required to provide includes:

  1. the date and place of death;
  2. the full name and surname (and the maiden surname if the deceased was a woman who had married);
  3. the date and place of birth;
  4. the occupation (and if the deceased was a married woman or a widow the name and occupation of her husband);
  5. the usual address;
  6. whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds;
  7.  if the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower;

The informant will then sign the Register, certifying that the information that has been given to the Registrar is correct.

When the Coroner is involved, the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death is replaced by one from H. M. Coroner.   In this circumstance, we will advise when the Registration can take place.

It is important to remember that Registration can ONLY be carried out by appointment

Appointments can be made using the following numbers:

West Dorset

01305 225153
Monday to Friday :  9.00am – 4.00pm

East Devon:

0845 155 1002
Monday to Friday :  8.00am – 8.00pm
Saturday : 9.00am – 1.00pm


01823 282251
Monday to Friday :  9.00am – 5.30pm

Tell Us Once

‘Tell Us Once’ is a free and simple service to help you tell us that someone has died read more…

What Will the Registrar Give Me?

In the majority of cases the Registrar will then issue:-

  • The Registrar’s Certificate for Burial or Cremation (this form is green in colour).  NB. This form should be handed to us as soon as possible.
  • A Certificate of Registration or Notification of Death.  This certificate is needed in order to claim benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
  • Copies of the entry in the register – on payment of the prescribed fee of £4.00 per copy.  NB. Copies of the entry, which are usually required for legal purposes, may be obtained from the Registrar up to six months from the date of registration. After six months copies can be obtained from: The Registrar General, PO Box 2, Southport PR8 2JD
  • Leaflets on State benefits and Form 48 (procedure for dealing with Wills).

It is possible that the DWP Form SF200 will be available for those that may need to make a claim for a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund. Once completed, this form should be taken or sent to your local JobCentre Plus with any pension or benefit books in the deceased’s name, or in joint names.  This is also used to assess whether a surviving partner is eligible for benefits such as Widows Benefit.  You can download the form on the Department for Works and Pensions website. To find out more information please visit the website and click on Funeral Payment.

Do I Have to Register the Death Before Arranging the Funeral?

No.  It is important to understand the difference between arranging a funeral and the funeral itself.

The funeral arrangement involves us discussing the type of funeral required, and offering you advice and information as appropriate.  This can be done as soon as you have made certain decisions about the funeral – ie whether it is to be a burial or cremation.  The funeral itself cannot proceed without the death being registered but this is usually completed during the time between making the arrangements and the actual funeral itself.

If you have any queries whatsoever do please contact us.