Register a death
We understand that it can be a distressing time when someone has died, especially as there are certain legal formalities to complete. We hope that the information on this page will be helpful to you.
All deaths in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within five days of the death, unless the death has been reported to the coroner.
You should register a death at the local register office for the area where the death occurred. If your relative died in North Lincolnshire you must make an appointment to visit the register office in Scunthorpe.
If you can’t register the death in the area where it occurred, you can go to another register office and they will send your details, by post, to the correct office. This is called ‘making a declaration’. This process will take longer and you will not receive the death certificate or additional documents straight away.
What happens at the register office when I register a death?
When someone dies, their doctor usually issues relatives with a medical certificate which shows the cause of death. You should take this certificate with you when you go to the Register Office.
You will be given a time for your appointment and we will explain exactly what documents and information are needed. The appointment will take about 40 minutes.
If you are unable to attend the register office, we can, in certain circumstances, arrange to visit a Local Link office near to where you live to complete the registration. Please ask when you make the appointment
You will be seen privately and the registrar will ask you:
- The person’s full name at the time of death
- Any names previously used, for example a maiden name
- The person’s date and place of birth
- Their last address
- Their occupation
- The full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner
If you have them, please bring the following documents of the deceased person you are registering:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
- NHS medical card
If you use the Tell Us Once service, we will tell you what else to bring.
Once the death has been registered, you will be given the following forms free of charge:
- A Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘green form’) – this allows the burial or cremation to go ahead
- A Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8) – you may need to fill this out and return it to the Department of Work and Pensions if the person was getting a State Pension or benefits
Who can register a death?
You can only register a death if you are a qualified informant such as any of the following:
- A relative of the deceased
- Someone present at the death
- An administrator from the hospital or nursing home manager
- The person making arrangements with the funeral directors
If you are not a qualified informant from the list above, but you think you are the only person who can complete the registration, please contact the register office and we can advise what you should do.
It is free to register a death. You may need to buy one or more certified copies of the registration to sort out the affairs of the deceased, for example to notify the bank or a private pension. These cost £4 each at the time of registration. The registrar will be able to advise you. Payment can be made by debit or credit card or by cheque. Please note that we do not take cash payments.
Certificates issued after the death has been registered are more expensive and you are advised to contact us to check the fee before applying for any further certificates
Deaths reported to the Coroner
If the cause of death is unknown, sudden or unexplained, it may be reported to the coroner. The coroner may ask for a post mortem examination. You might have to wait for the coroner to issue documents to the registrar before you can attend to register the death. The coroner will always tell you when to contact the register office in these cases.
There are a number of reasons why a death might have to be referred to the coroner:
- There was no doctor treating the deceased during the last illness and therefore there is no doctor who is legally qualified to issue a medical certificate of the cause of death.
- The doctor certifying the death has not seen the deceased after death or within 14 days of the death.
- The death was the result of an accident, injury, self neglect, occurred during an operation or was the result of an industrial disease related to the deceased’s occupation.
In all these circumstances the doctor or registrar is legally obliged to report the death to the coroner to properly establish the cause of death. The registrar cannot register the death until the coroner has notified the registrar that he is satisfied.
In some cases the coroner may decide an inquest is necessary. If this happens, you do not need to register the death and the coroner will issue you with an interim death certificate. This allows you to inform other organisations that the death has occurred.
Errors in death entries
When you attend to register a death, the details are entered in a register. You are always asked to check the entry carefully before signing the register.
Once the register has been signed by you and the registrar, it is deemed to be a legal record and cannot be changed easily.
There is a legal process to follow involving the production of supporting evidence before any correction can be considered. Some corrections can be authorised by registration staff at the Register Office, but others have to be submitted to the Registrar General for consideration and authorisation.
The following charges will apply for any corrections where the informant has supplied incorrect information:
- £75 where the correction can be authorised locally
- £90 where the correction must be submitted for consideration to the Registrar General
You can download the application forms and get guidance about completing the forms on the government website
If English is not your first language, you can ask a friend or relative to help and attend the office with you.
The Register Office is open
Monday to Friday 9am-4pm
Saturday 10am to 4pm
You can contact us
In person – Civic Centre, Ashby Road, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire DN16 1AB
By email – email@example.com
By telephone – 01724 298555
If you need to contact a registrar in an emergency outside office hours, please call the CCTV Centre on 01724 276444
They will contact us on your behalf and arrange for you to be called back.