Registering a death

Elder Care

19 March 2021

The death of your loved one must be registered with the district where the death happened, unless there’s a coroner involved. Registering a death can be different depending on where in the UK you live and your circumstances.

The death certificate will be needed to claim certain benefits if you are eligible for assistance. For more information on benefits please click here. It may be helpful to get a few copies of the death certificate as several agencies will require one. Copies required later can be more expensive and photocopies are often not accepted.

There are also a number of government agencies which will need to be informed of someone’s death including (but not limited to) HMRC, Department of Work and Pensions, DVLA, Passport Office and the local council. Most councils offer a service called ‘Tell Us Once’ which lets you report the death to different government offices/departments once.

What to take to the Registrar appointment

  1. A copy of the death certificate (this certificate will detail the cause of death and should have been signed by a doctor).
  2. You will need to advise the registrar of the place and date of death.
  3. You will need to advise the registrar of the deceased full name and maiden name if appropriate.
  4. You’ll also need to provide a copy of the deceased’s birth certificate. If this certificate is not available, you’ll need to advise the registrar of the date of birth and the place of their birth. The registrar will also need to know if the deceased was born in the UK and which county. If the deceased was born outside of the UK the registrar will need to know which country they were born in.
  5. You’ll need to inform the registrar of the last address or main address of the deceased.
  6. The occupation of the deceased.
  7. You’ll also need to provide details of any state benefits or state pension the deceased was receiving.
  8. If the deceased was married or had a civil partnership, the registrar will require the full name of the spouse/civil partner, their date of birth and their occupation. You don’t need to provide this information if the deceased was divorced.
  9. If possible, it may also be useful to provide the NHS number for the medical card of the deceased.
  10. It may also be useful to provide a copy of the marriage or civil partnership certificate.

What happens next

The registrar will give you two documents:

(In England and Wales is known as the GREEN FORM)
(In Scotland this is known as FORM 14)
(In Northern Ireland, this is known as FORM GRO21)

This form represents permission for an application for a cremation or for a burial to be made. This form should be given to the funeral director.

(In England and Wales this is known as FORM BD8 (more commonly known as the death certificate)).
(In Scotland, this is known as FORM 334/S1).
(In Northern Ireland, this is known as FORM 36/BD8).

(A death certificate is a document that certifies what has been written in the death register).

The certificate is for state benefit claims relating to the state pension and other benefits of the deceased person.

The certificate contains information on the reverse to help guide you through what you need to do next and where applicable, may require you to complete the certificate. You’ll need to contact whichever of following that are applicable the Pensions Service or Jobcentre Plus or your local Social Security Office.

Other organisations you may need to inform about a death

  1. Mortgage provider, the land registry, Council Housing Association
  2. Banks and/or building societies, loan companies
  3. Employer or Trade Union
  4. Insurance companies (house, home, pets insurance, life insurance for example)
  5. Personal or occupational pension scheme providers
  6. Utility companies; phone, gas electric, water etc.
  7. GP, optician, dentist and any other medical care providers
  8. Social Services (about the provision of care packages the deceased was receiving)
  9. NHS (about the provision of wheelchairs, hearing aids or artificial limbs etc.)
  10. The Post Office for redirection of the deceased’s mail.

There’s also a facility called the Bereavement Register, which helps stop unsolicited mail going to the deceased’s address. All you need to do is register the name and address of the deceased. Tel: 0800 082 1230 (this is a 24 hour automated registration service).

Organisations that you may need to return documents/items to

  • Disabled parking permit (will need to be returned to the local council authority)
  • Library membership cards and books
  • Membership cards of clubs, associations or trade unions.
  • National Insurance documents (HM Revenue and Customs)
  • Drivers licence (DVLA)
  • Car Registration documents and inform the DVLA of who is the new owner of the car
  • Passport (this will need to be returned to Identify and Passport Service) Tel: 0300 222 0000

For more information and advice please click here.

What to do after a death in England or Wales DWP booklet: DWP1027

(this booklet is available from the gov.uk website, Registrar’s Office, Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Hospices, Funeral Directors and Jobcentre Plus Offices).

In Scotland there is a Scottish Government booklet: What to do after a Death in Scotland. Call: 0131 244 3581

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) 020 783 2181
(England or Wales)
(Northern Ireland)

Age UK: When Someone Dies (a step by step guide of what to do). Call 0800 169 65 65

If someone dies abroad

If your loved one died abroad, the death will need to be registered according to the local regulations of the country they died in. You can also register the death with the British Consul in that country so a record can be kept in the UK. The British Consul can give you advice on how to register the death and also give you advice on what to do next.

The funeral can take place overseas or at home. If you / your family wanted (or if it was the wishes of the departed) a burial in the UK, the body will need to be repatriated. There are international undertakers who can advise on arrangements. Repatriation can be very costly so make sure you can cover the costs. If the person who died had travel insurance you may be able to claim the costs but you should contact the insurance company as soon as possible.

If your loved one was cremated abroad and you would like to return the ashes to the UK you will normally need the death certificate and the certificate of cremation. Each country has its own rules about departing with human ashes and there may be additional requirements.  The British Consul can help with advice. The airline will also need to be contacted – you may be able to carry the ashes as hand luggage or the ashes may need to be checked luggage.

Useful contacts

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) About a death overseas: 
020 7008 1500 (24 hours)

Gov.uk What to do when someone dies: step-by-step (Accessed 19 March 2021)

NHS UK (Accessed 19 March 2021)

Bereavement UK (Accessed 19 March 2021)

AGE UK (Accessed 19 March 2021)

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