The death of someone close to you can involve enormous stress as you come to terms with your bereavement.
Sections in this guide (click title to view)
- 1. When to register a death
- 2. What information we need to register a death
- 3. Your certificates
- 4. Who can register a death
- 5. Where to register the death
- 6. Death certificates and cost
- 7. Tell Us Once
- 8. Make an appointment to register a death
- 9. Register a death that occurred outside the UK
1. When to register a death
It is possible to register the death once you have obtained the 'Medical Certificate of Death' from the hospital or doctor.
If the death is referred to the coroner's office the registration will only occur once the coroner has given permission.
Legally, the death must be registered within 5 days but this period may be extended under certain circumstances.
If the death has been reported to the coroner, wait until you hear from the coroner before you come and see us. If the coroner decides to hold an inquest he will issue an interim death certificate which will enable a funeral to take place. The registration of that death cannot take place until the inquest in completed. The coroner will give us all the information required to register the death. You will not be required to visit the Register Office to register the death if an inquest has taken place
2. What information we need to register a death
The doctor who treated the person during their last illness will usually issue a medical certificate of the cause of death.
To register a death and to start funeral arrangements, it is essential you bring the medical certificate of death with you.
You will need to provide us the following information, if you have documents to support this, please bring them with you:
- date and place of the deceased’s birth
- Last address of the deceased
- Occupation of the deceased
- spouse/ civil partner's full name, date of birth, address and occupation
3. Your certificates
We will give you:
- a certificate (form BD8) for you to use when you contact the social security office about the death
- In most cases a green form will be issued. The registrar will advise you what you need to do if not. The undertaker will need this form to arrange the burial or cremation.
4. Who can register a death
- A relative of the deceased
- A person present at death.
- An administrator from the hospital
- The person making arrangements with the funeral directors
5. Where to register the death
If the person died in Lambeth, you should register the death with us.
If it is too distressing or not convenient for you to attend the Lambeth Register office to register the death. Then you may go to any Register Office in England or Wales to register by'Death Declaration'. The registrar will record the relevant information, and act as an intermediary, sending the details to Lambeth post. It will take up to 10 working days for Lambeth to receive your declaration. Lambeth will then register the death and, we will send the short death certificate to you by post and any additional certificates you paid for.
If you require additional copies of the death certificate please make a cheque or postal order payable to 'London Borough of Lambeth' for the amount of £4 for each extra certificate (certificate price at the time of registration). You will need to provide this cheque to the local register office at the time of giving the details of the death . The registrar will then enclose this cheque with the information that is posted to Lambeth that is required to register the death.
For example if the death occurred at St Thomas' Hospital but the relatives live in Sheffield. You will be able to provide the details of the death to the Register Office in Sheffield, and also provide a cheque or postal order but made out to the 'London Borough of Lambeth'. They will then post the details of the death and the cheque to Lambeth Register Office. Lambeth Register Office will register the death, and post the certificate and additional copies they have received payment for.
As relatives often live in a different part of the country it is not uncommon to register a death by declaration at the nearest register office. We advise if you choose to make a declaration in a different borough you will not be given any documentation at the time of the appointment. This is because the certificates can only be issued by the Local authority who registers the death. This will lead to a delay in making funeral arrangements.
6. Death certificates and cost
A death certificate is a certified copy of the entry in the Register of Deaths.
- You may purchase as many additional copies of the certificate as you like at the time of registration for a fee of £4 each
- Further copies may be ordered at a later date for an additional charge by applying online
7. Tell Us Once
Tell Us Once is a free service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go.
Once the death has been registered, several other organisations may have to be contacted and given the same information. We will provide you with a unique reference number so that you can use the tell us once service.
Tell Us Once will notify:
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - to deal with tax and cancel benefits
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - to cancel benefits, for example Income Support
- Passport Office - to cancel a British passport
- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) - to cancel a driving licence
- the local council - to cancel Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, a Blue badge, Inform council housing services and remove the person from the electoral register
- public sector or armed forced pension schemes - to stop pension payments
Once the registrar has registered the death and provided you with the unique reference number you can use the Tell Us Once online service.
8. Make an appointment to register a death
We offer appointments from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. The Register Office is closed on the first Wednesday of every month until 1pm.
We will aim to see you within 10 minutes of your appointment time, if you arrive on time.