Funerals: a step-by-step guide
How to register a death 1
What information and documents do you need?
The registrar will require the name and current address of the person registering the death as well as key information and documentation for the departed including:
- Date of birth
- Birth certificate
- Place of birth
- Driving license
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Date of death
- Place of death
- The signed (by a doctor) medical certificate showing the cause of death
- Full name and any alias’s
- Most recent address
- Proof of address (in the form of a utility bill or legal letter)
Not all of the documents need to be taken along with you so gather as many as possible, if you’re unsure that you have enough information to successfully register the death it may be worth giving the register office a call for more advice.
Where & How:
The information and documents need to be taken to your local register office (the same place you register births and marriages), you can find the address of your nearest office from the hospital, your GP or your funeral director or by a simple online search.
To register the death the registrar will give you (this may differ in Scotland and Northern Ireland):
- A certificate for burial and cremation
- Also known as the green certificate, this gives permission to bury the body or to apply for a cremation
- A certificate for registration of death
- This certificate is required to deal with the deceased’s personal affairs such as pensions and benefits payments
Who can do it?
Only the following people can register a death
- A relative
- A person that was with the departed at the time of death
- A person who lives at the address where the person died
- The person that is arranging the funeral (except the undertaker or funeral director)
Cost: Registering a death is free of charge.
Who makes the funeral arrangements?
The vast majority of people use a funeral director service, though you’re under no legal obligation to do so. However, while ‘DIY’ funerals can save you money, they can be stressful and time-consuming to organise. A funeral director, on the other hand, can deal with all aspects of a funeral, and ensure it runs smoothly. The cost of using a funeral director varies with the level of service you choose.
If you decide to use a funeral director, you may find it helpful to visit the websites of the following organisations. Their members all operate to strict codes of practice and price transparency.
- National Association of Funeral Directors
- National Federation of Funeral Directors
- Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
If you prefer to arrange the funeral yourself, we’ve put together some advice on DIY funerals.
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