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How to Register a Death

A death should be registered within five days but registration can be delayed for another nine days if the registrar is told that a medical certificate has been issued. If the death has been reported to the Coroner you cannot register the death until the Coroner's investigations are finished.

It is a criminal offence not to register a death.

The death should be registered within a five day period by one of the following people (in order of priority).

  • a relative who was present at the death

  • a relative present during the person's last illness

  • a relative living in the district where the death took place

  • anyone else present at the death

  • an owner or occupier of the building where the death took place and who was aware of the death

  • the person arranging the funeral (but not the funeral director)

You cannot delegate responsibility for registering the death to someone else. This is a simple question  and-answer process, and to save time, worry and confusion it is best to write down clearly all the details before you visit the registrar.

For information purposes we suggest you take along the following:

  • Medical Certificate (of cause of death).

  • The deceased's medical card (if possible).

  • The deceased's birth & marriage certificates (if available).

  • The date and place of death.

  • The deceased 039;s last home address.

  • The deceased's first names and surnames (and the maiden name where appropriate).

  • The parents name of the deceased (if he/she was less than 16 years of age).

  • The deceased's date and place of birth (town & county if born in UK, and country if born abroad).

  • The deceased's occupation and the name and occupation of their spouse, and of previous spouses (if appropriate).

  • If the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower.

  • Fee. It is best to ask for several copies of the Death Certificate

Following the registration, a “Certificate for Burial” (also known as the “Green Form”) will be given to you by the Registrar if the deceased's case was referred to the Coroner and no Burial Order was issued then. This form gives permission for the body to be buried.

In order for the Social Security Department to record the death a “Certificate of Registration” (form: BD8 rev) will be issued to you. This form is for Social Security purposes only.

If you need evidence for obtaining probate, pensions claims, premium bonds and saving certificates then the “Death Certificate(s)” will be used for this purpose. This is a certified copy of the entry in the Death Register.

If a baby is stillborn (after the 24th week of pregnancy) then a “Certificate of Registration of Stillborn” will be given to you by the Registrar.

On or before the 24th week of pregnancy there is no requirement for registration. The hospital documentation is sufficient to allow burial.

Please note that during an out of hours registration the Funeral Arranger has to accompany the applicant to register the death and obtain the Burial Order. Once an out of hours appointment has been made the Registrar will meet the applicant and the Funeral Arranger.



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Lady Lucie Duff Gordon (1821-1869) lived in Luxor, Egypt from 1862 in the hope that the consumption she was suffering from would improve. She learnt Arabic, and often visited and prayed at the tomb of Sufi Sheikh Yusuf abu’l-Hajjaj.

Letter to her husband, Sir Alexander Duff Gordon, from Cairo 16th October 1866:

'My Reis spoke such a pretty parable the other day that I must needs write it. A Coptic Reis stole some of my wood, which we got back by force and there was some reviling of the Nazarenes in consequence from Hoseyn and Ali; but Reis Mohammed said:

“Not so; Girgis is a thief, it is true, but many Christians are honest; and behold, all the people in the world are like soldiers, some wear red and some blue; some serve on foot, others on horseback, and some in ships; but all serve one Sultan, and each fights in the regiment in which the Sultan has placed him, and he does what does his duty best is the best man, be his coat red or blue or black.”

I said, `Excellent words, oh Reis, and fit to be spoken from the best of pulpits.' It is surprising what happy sayings the people here hit upon; they cultivate talk for want of reading, and the consequence is great facility narration and illustration. Everybody enforces his ideas, like Christ, in parables.'