When someone has died, official guidance states that the death should be registered within 5 days of its occurrence with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages (unless the death has been referred to the coroner, in which case it cannot be registered until written clearance has been given to the registrar – see deaths referred to the coroner).
In practice, it may well not happen within 5 days due to either a delay in the doctor issuing the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) to the registrar (registration can only happen once this has been done) – or there may be a delay before an appointment with the registrar becomes available.
The process is quite straightforward, as long as you have the correct documentation. You need to register the death so that you can obtain the death certificate and your funeral director can receive the Certificate for Burial or Cremation (known as the Green Form). A date for the funeral should not be fixed until the death has been registered (or at least you have a firm date for the appointment to register).
Here we have provided answers to common questions about how to register a death. Contact details for local register offices are provided at the bottom of this page.
Who can register a death?
The person who registers the death can be:
- a relative
- someone who was with the person when they died
- someone who lives at the address where the person died
- someone who is arranging the funeral (e.g. a family friend)
However, it cannot be the funeral director.
What documentation do I need to register a death?
Once you have the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (‘MCCD’) you can register the death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. You should bring the certificate, along with any ID documentation (e.g. utility bill, NHS medical card) and official certificates (e.g. birth certificate, marriage certificate) relating to the person who has died.
What questions will the registrar ask when registering a death?
You will need to tell the registrar:
- date and place of death and usual address of the person who has died
- full names and surname (and maiden name if the person who died was a woman who had married)
- date and place of birth
- most recent occupation
- if applicable, the name and occupation of the deceased’s spouse or civil partner
- whether the person who died was receiving a pension / allowance from public funds
- if the person who died was married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of the surviving spouse or civil partner
If the death took place in an ambulance, car etc then you need to provide information about the locality of the vehicle when the death occurred and the intended destination.
Which register office should I use to register a death?
You should ideally use the register office located in the district in which the death occurred. For example, if the person died in a hospital you should visit the registrar that is in the same district as the hospital, whereas if they died at home you should find the register office in that district.
You can use this online tool on the gov.uk website to find a register office by submitting a postcode. At the bottom of this page you will find details of local register offices in Richmond, Kingston, Surrey and SW London.
Can I register the death at any register office?
You don’t have to use a particular register office, you can make a declaration to register the death at any register office but this could delay funeral arrangements as the details will need to be passed on to the correct office and you may have to wait a few days for the paperwork.
Do I need to make an appointment to register a death?
You should check the opening hours of the office you wish to go to and whether an appointment is required – in some cases you can book an appointment online. You should allow around half an hour to register a death.
How much does it cost to register a death?
It is free to register a death, however there is a cost for obtaining the death certificate (and certified copies of the certificate) – currently £11 per copy (correct as at April 2022).
How do I register a death that has been reported to the Coroner?
If the death has been referred to the coroner, you will have to wait for the registrar to receive written authority from the coroner that no further investigations are necessary before you can register the death, as the death cannot be registered until the coroner’s investigations are finished. If there is to be an inquest you do not need to register the death. See deaths referred to the coroner.
How do I register a death that took place abroad?
If somebody dies abroad, there is no need to register the death in the UK. All deaths must be registered in the country where the death occurred. You can obtain more information from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
What documentation is required to arrange a funeral?
Once you have registered the death, you will receive the Death Certificate – however, this is not needed for arranging the funeral. The registrar will also issue a Certificate for Burial or Cremation (a green square form known as ‘the Green Form’) and will normally send this document electronically to your funeral – this is done via email so please let them have the email address of your funeral director.
Find a local register office:
- Richmond Register Office
- Kingston Register Office
- Hounslow Register Office
- Sutton Register Office
- Merton Register Office
- Wandsworth Register Office
- Camberley Registrars Office
- Guildford Register Office
- Leatherhead Register Office
- Weybridge Register Office
Local register offices in Richmond, Kingston, Surrey and SW London:
Richmond Register Office
020 8891 7188
The Bereavement Office
Kingston Cemetery & Crematorium
Bonner Hill Road
Registrations were previously at The Old Court House, Guildhall, High Street, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1EU but this changed from October 2023.
Telephone:020 8547 4600
If the death took place at Kingston Hospital you should register the death at Kingston Register Office.
If the death took place at West Middlesex Hospital you should register the death at Hounslow Register Office.
Sutton Register Office
25 Worcester Road
Wandsworth Register Office
Town Hall, High Street
If the death took place at St George’s University Hospital you should register the death at Wandsworth Register Office.
Surrey County Council
Surrey County Council has register offices at Camberley, Farnham, Guildford, Leatherhead, Reigate or Weybridge – see below for individual contact details.
Camberley Registrars Office
Surrey Heath House
Guildford Register Office
42 Portsmouth Road
Leatherhead Register Office
70 Church Street
Weybridge Register Office
81 Oatlands Drive
For more information about registering a death visit the gov.uk website. If you would like us to help you with arranging a funeral, call 020 3281 1045 or contact us. White Rose Modern Funerals are independent funeral directors based in Teddington.