Registering a Death: Step by Step

headstone with leaves

In the aftermath of a loved one’s death, the last things you’re probably thinking about are the legal hoops you now need to jump through in order to properly and legally register the death. It can be an incredibly trying time in the best of circumstances, and if you’re underprepared, things can seem a little overwhelming.

However, there’s no need to worry. Registering a death is a simple and straightforward process which doesn’t require significant time, effort or expense if you know what you’re doing. The step-by-step checklist below should help you get through the process and help you prepare for life after death.

Get a medical certificate

The first thing you’ll need to take care of is obtaining a medical certificate from a practicing GP or hospital doctor. This will provide the deceased’s cause of death.

Find your local register office

You can ask your GP or doctor about the location of your local register office upon receipt of your medical certificate, or you can find out online. It’s advisable to use the closest register to where the death occurred, since further away offices will likely incur delays. Many offices will only register a death by appointment, so it’s a good idea to call in advance and secure a time slot. If the deceased died overseas, you’ll need to register the death in the country where it occurred. All registrations must take place within five days of the death, except in Scotland (where it is eight days).

Prepare yourself for the registration

Most registrations shouldn’t take more than around 30 minutes and are fairly straightforward processes, but they can be helped immensely if you make sure you take the right documentation with you. In addition to the medical certificate you received from the doctor, you’ll need to have the following information:

While not essential, it’s also a good idea to try and bring the following documents with you:

Registering a death does not cost anything.

Obtain the appropriate paperwork

Depending on your location within the UK, you’ll be given different forms for you to fill out and give to funeral directors, will executor or other relevant person. These could include (but are not limited to) a Certificate for Registration of Death, a Certificate for Burial and Cremation and the Death Certificate itself.

Alert the relevant authorities

Finally, you’ll need to make sure that all of the relevant authorities are made aware of the death. This includes organisations like HMRC, the DWP, the National Insurance contributions office, the tax credit office, the passport office, the DVLA, the local council and any other pension schemes. Fortunately, the UK government offers a Tell Us Once system, whereby all of the relevant bodies can be notified all at the same time.


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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service

What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family

Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.


Funeral Choice charity donation

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