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How to register a death in the UK

There are lots of things that need to be done after someone dies and this can get very confusing at an emotionally stressful time. You might have questions including "how long do you have to register a death?" and "what are the documents needed to register a death?" so we've got together everything you need to know before registering a death in the UK. 


How to register a death in England and Wales

How long do you have to register a death in England and Wales?

When someone dies in England or Wales the death needs to be registered within five days at the register office for the district in which it happened. You can go to a different office if it is more convenient, but the process will take a day or two longer because the Registrar will need to forward your information to the original district where the Registrar will issue and send out the death certificate and other paperwork. You can obtain the address of the local Register Office or Registrar, by visiting The General Register Office.


How to register a death in Scotland

How long do you have to register a death in Scotland?

Changes to legislation in May 2015 mean there are new arrangements for the certification and registration of deaths in Scotland. This included the establishment of an independent review service run by Healthcare Improvement Scotland. Information on all aspects of the Death Certification Review Service is available on the Healthcare Improvement Scotland website.

Any death which occurs in Scotland must be registered within eight days by the Registrar of Birth, Death and Marriages. The law allows a death to be registered in any registration district in Scotland. You can obtain the address of the local Registrar by visiting the Directory of Registrars in Scotland.


What are the documents needed to register a death?

The Registrar will ask for certain details including:

- the deceased’s birth certificate and marriage certificate (if available)
- the medical certificate 
- the deceased’s NHS medical card
- any documents relating to the receipt of a pension allowance from government funds (Scotland only)

The Registrar will then register the death, issue the death certificate and provide the necessary documents for the funeral arrangements to be made. 

The Next of Kin will also need these documents if they have to deal with social security or pension claims, insurance policies, savings accounts or Premium Bonds and also for the Will.

You can buy extra death certificates – these will be needed for the Will and any claims to pensions, savings, etc. It’s best to pay for several copies, as copies required at a later date may be more expensive. Ordinary photocopies aren’t accepted by some organisations, such as banks or life insurance companies.


Let Simplicity help

Still unsure of how to register a death? Or need assistance with doing so? Our telephone-based team are here to help you through this emotional time. And with low cost funerals to suit every budget, you'll be able to say goodbye without any surprise costs. Contact us to find out more. 

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