When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements to make, all of which can be difficult in a time of grief. To help, we have put together some information to guide you through the process.
Registering A Death
The registration of the death is done by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. When someone dies at home, the death should be registered at the register office for the district where they lived. If the death took place in hospital or in a nursing home it must be registered at the register office for the district in which the hospital or home is situated. I am more than happy to assist in making appointments in the appropriate district office.
Ideally a death should be registered within five days but registration can be delayed if the registrar is told that a medical certificate has been issued. If the death has been reported to the coroner you cannot register it until the coroner's investigations have finished.
You cannot delegate responsibility for registering the death. The death should be registered by one of the following (in order of priority):
a relative who was present at the death
a relative present during the person's last illness
a relative living in the district where the death took place
anyone else present at the death
an owner or occupier of the building where the death took place and who was aware of the death
the person arranging the funeral (but not the funeral director).
You must take with you the medical certificate of cause of death. If possible, you should also take the person's NHS number and birth and marriage certificates.
The registrar will want from you the following information:
date and place of death
the full name of the person (including maiden name) and their last address
the person's date and place of birth
the person's occupation and, in the case of a woman who was married or widowed, full name and occupation of her husband
if the person was still married, the date of birth of their husband or wife
whether the person was receiving a pension or other social security benefits.
The death certificate (certified copy of entry) is a copy of the entry made by the registrar in the death register. This certificate is needed to deal with money or property left by the person who has died, including dealing with the will. You may need several copies of the certificate, for which there will be a charge per copy.
Tell Us Once
Somerset's Registration Service provides a free, simple and sensitive service Tell Us Once which can securely pass information about a death directly onto a range of public sector organisations. Tell us Once allows you to inform a range of council and central government services about a death with just one contact. This free service offers a solution to the frustration at having to individually notify numerous government organisations at what can often be a very difficult time. More information on this service can be found here.
A coroner is a doctor or lawyer appointed by a local authority to investigate certain deaths. A coroner is completely independent of the authority. In some circumstances, such as a sudden death or when the G.P. has not seen the deceased during the last 14 days, the Coroner may require a review of the circumstances. In which case different procedural requirements and registration procedures will be necessary.
If the death has been referred to a Coroner and a post-mortem examination has established that the death is due to natural causes, the Coroners Officer will arrange for the necessary forms to be at the Registrars Office before you attend. Therefore you will not need to collect any paperwork from either the G.P. or the hospital.
Should the Coroner find the death was not due to natural causes then an inquest would be held to establish:
The identity of the deceased.
When, where and how the death occurred.
The cause of death.
Usually an inquest will be opened and adjourned to allow the funeral service to take place. Once all relevant facts have been established the inquest will be reopened. During this time the coroner will issue to the funeral director the necessary forms for burial or cremation. It is normal for the Coroners office to send an interim death certificate to the family for bank and insurance purposes. We understand that a sudden death together with the Coroners involvement can be distressing and we will on your behalf, liaise with the Coroners Office at all stages to keep you informed.
"The fact that Bob had planned his burial and thanksgiving service made it a pleasure for us to fulfil his wishes".
B. Gibbs Funeral Services Ltd. Proprietor: Mr. Barry J. Gibbs Dip. F.D. (N.A.F.D) Registered Address: The Manse, 28 Fore Street, Chard, Somerset TA20 1PT.