Registering a Death
The process of registering a death in the UK depends upon the location in which the death occurred. England and Wales share the same registration procedure and overall registration authority though Northern Ireland and Scotland each have their own rules, regulations and governing bodies for this process. Registering a death is not hard, but it will take some preparation time, documents to prove the information given and a little patience.
Registering a Death in England or WalesThe General Register Office (GRO) oversees the registration of deaths in England and Wales. When a death occurs in one of these locations it must be reported within 5 days to the register office in the location in which the death occurred, except in the case of stillbirth (which is usually given a few weeks) or if the death is referred to the coroner. Who registers the death depends upon where it occurred. If the death occurred at home or in hospital, a relative, a witness of the death, someone living in the house or working in the hospital or whoever is working with the funeral director may register the death. If the death occurred elsewhere, a relative, a witness of the death, the person who found the body, the person taking charge of the body or whoever is working with the funeral director may register the death. Regardless of who registers the death, any medical certificates stating the cause of death, the deceased’s birth certificate, any marriage or civil partnership certificates and the deceased’s NHS card should be brought. If the death is not referred to a coroner, then a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the “green form”) and a Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8) will be issued. Multiple copies of the Death Certificate will be available for purchase at this time, which may be needed to help wrap up affairs of the deceased’s estate.
Registering a Death in ScotlandThe Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages oversees the registration of deaths in Scotland. When a death occurs in this location it must be reported within 5 days to the local registrar. Anyone who has the information to register the death may do so. The medical certificate stating the cause of death, the deceased’s birth and marriage certificate (if there is one), the deceased’s NHS card and any documents relating to the deceased’s government pension should be brought. A certificate of the registration of the death, a Social Security notification and an abbreviated extract of the death entry (which does not include the cause of death or parental details) will all be provided after the registration. A full copy of the death entry will be available for a fee.
Registering a Death in Northern IrelandThe General Register Office (Northern Ireland) oversees the registration of deaths in Northern Ireland. When a death occurs in this location it must be reported within 5 days to the District Registrar. Any relative of the deceased, any witness of the death, the executor of the deceased’s estate, anyone who lived in the property where the death occurred, an official from the hospital in which the death occurred, anyone who found the body or anyone who is taking charge of the body may register the death. A medical certificate stating the cause of death should be brought. Once the registration is complete, and if the death has not been referred to the coroner, then Form GRO21 (which permits the burial or cremation to take place) and Form 36 (notification to the Social Security Offices regarding benefits) will be issued. Certified copies of the Death Certificate can be purchased at a fee.
The methods of registering a death differ in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For more information, contact your local GP, your local registration office or your funeral director.