The loss of a loved one is an unfortunate event that we must all face at some point in our lives. And whilst it’s a time to mourn and celebrate the life they lived, one of the first things to take care of is registering the death. Once done, you’ll then have the necessary paperwork to arrange a funeral, notify government departments, and settle any estate.

In most cases, registering a death in the UK is straightforward and simple to take care of. Here’s what you need to do:

1. The doctor will issue a medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD)

When a loved one dies, the first thing you’ll ned to do is get a doctor to issue the medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD). If the death occurred in hospital, and the cause is clear, the doctor will issue this automatically, and send this directly to the register office so that you can register the death.

However, for cases where a death happens at home (or anywhere else outside of a hospital), you’ll need to contact the deceased’s GP or call 111 to contact the emergency NHS line.

A doctor or nurse will come out to the property to verify the death. If a doctor has not seen your loved one within the last 28 days then they may contact the coroner, who may then collect the body and decide whether a post mortem is needed. If the coroner completes a post mortem then an MCCD will not be issued by the doctor and instead the coroner will complete the death certificate. The coroner will need to release the body before the funeral director can arrange the collection, however you can still contact the funeral director straight away to start the process.

If the death was expected, then once the death has been verified by the nurse or doctor, the funeral director is then allowed to collect the body. You should contact the funeral director as soon as possible so that they can get the team ready. The local GP will then be informed so that they can complete the MCCD and send it straight to the local register office.


2. Register the death

Once the MCCD certificate has been issued, you need to formally register the death. At the moment (November 2021), this is done by booking a telephone appointment with the register office local to where the death occurred. Some councils have an online booking system and others you will need to give them a call, the best way to check is to search for the local register office online. In any case, you should aim to register the death within 5 days of the death.

When you book the appointment, you may be asked how many copies of the death certificate you need. They currently cost £11 each, so it's worth thinking about how many you need ahead of time. You will likely need an original copy to close things down such as insurances, private pensions, memberships and bank accounts.

Before speaking to the registrar, you may want to gather the information of the deceased that they will ask:

  • Full name including middle names
  • Date of birth
  • Their registered address
  • Address of where they passed away
  • Last occupation
  • Marital status
  • The funeral director's email address for the green form

After handing over the necessary information, the registrar will provide:

  • The funeral director a copy of the Green Form
  • A certificate of registration of death (form BD8)
  • Additional copies of the death certificate (charged at £11 each) will be posted (you may be charged postage)

You should also use the 'Tell Us Once' government service. This will advise all of the government agencies of the death, such as; HMRC, DVLA, DWP, local council and state pensions. You can find the service here: Tell Us Once

And that’s it. All you need to know about registering a death in the UK. It’s pretty straight forward, right? But there is one more point you’ll want to think about even before registering your loved one’s death – and that’s arranging a funeral service.


Arranging your loved one’s funeral

Your loved one may have left their funeral wishes behind. Or even better, details of a funeral plan they’ve already paid for. But if they haven’t left anything funeral related behind, it’s likely the closest relative that will decide what type of funeral takes place.

We understand that arranging a funeral can not only be stressful, but quite expensive too. As a mater of fact, the average funeral cost in the UK is a staggering £4,383.

However, it doesn’t have to be that expensive.

As Great Britain’s trusted direct cremation provider, we can help you save up to 75% compared to the average funeral cost. With a simple, easy to arrange process that’s available 24 hours a day, and at a fee from just £850.

For more information on our direct cremation service, and to find out exactly what’s included, head over to our direct cremation page or contact our friendly team at Celebration of Life today. We’re available 24/7 and always happy to answer any questions you have.

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