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In England and Wales, you normally need to register the death within five days. It's best to go to the register office in the area in which the person has died, otherwise it may take longer to get the necessary documents and this could delay the funeral arrangements. (If you are unable to register at the this office you will able to register by declaration, please bear in mind this takes several day’s)


Registering the death will take about half an hour; you will need to make an appointment beforehand. You can find contact details for local register offices in our address book


Who can register a death


If the person died in a house or hospital, the death can be registered by:

·       a relative

·       someone present at the death

·       an occupant of the house

·       an official from the hospital

·       the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors


Deaths that occurred anywhere else can be registered by:

·       a relative

·       someone present at the death

·       the person who found the body

·       the person in charge of the body

·       the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors


Most deaths are registered by a relative. The registrar would normally only allow other people if there are no relatives available.


Documents and information you will need


When registering a death, you'll need to take the following:

·       medical certificate of the cause of death (signed by a doctor)


And if available:

·       birth certificate

·       marriage/civil partnership certificates

·       NHS Medical Card



You’ll need to tell the registrar:

·       the person’s full name at time of death

·       any names previously used, including maiden surname

·       the person’s date and place of birth (town and county if born in the UK and country if born abroad)

·       their last address

·       their occupation

·       the full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving spouse or civil partner

  • whether they were receiving a state pension or any other state benefit

Documents you will receive


If a post-mortem is not being held, the registrar will issue you with:

·       a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (called the 'green form'), giving permission for     the body to be buried or for an application for cremation to be made

·       a Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8), issued for social security purposes if the person received a State pension or benefits (please read the information on the back, complete and return it, if it applies)

You'll be able to buy one or more copies of the Death Certificate, at a cost of £3.50 each at this time. These will be needed by the executor / administrator when sorting out the person's affairs.


The registrar will also give you a booklet called 'What to do after a death'. This offers advice on probate and other administrative issues that will need to be done around this time.


If there is an error in a death record, details can be changed or added. Ideally the person who registered the death should arrange this with the office where the death was registered. You may be asked to provide documentary evidence to prove an error was made.

If the death is referred to the coroner


In a small number of cases - where the cause of death is unclear, sudden or suspicious - the doctor or hospital or registrar will report the death to the coroner. The coroner must then decide whether there should be further investigation. The registrar cannot register the death until the coroner's decision is made.





We are always available for help and advise on all funeral related matters

Registering a death in England and Wales


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