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. Information we need to register a death
- 3. Your certificates
- 4. Death certificates and cost
- 5. Who can register a death
- 6. Where to register the death
- 7. Tell Us Once
- 8. Make an appointment to register a death by telephone
- 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 ceath from the hospital or doctor.
If the death is referred to the coroner's office the registration will have to wait until the coroner has given permission.
Legally, the death must be registered within 5 days.
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. 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 evidence, they will be needed when you book your telephone appointment and when we call you to make the registration:
- the date and place of the death
- the deceased's first and last name (and the maiden last name, if the deceased was a woman who had married or formed a civil partnership)
- the deceased's date and place of birth (state their town and county if they were born in the UK, only state their country if they were born abroad)
- the deceased's occupation and the name and occupation of any spouse or civil partner
- the deceased's last address
- whether the deceased was getting a pension or allowance from public funds
- the date of birth of any surviving partner
3. Your certificates
The registrar will do the following:
- send you a certificate for burial or cremation (known as the green form), unless the coroner has already issued an order for burial or a certificate for cremation
- register you with the Tell Us Once service, enabling you to inform multiple local and central government departments of the death at the same time
4. Death certificates and cost
A death certificate is a certified copy of the entry in the register of deaths.
Death certificates cost £11 each. You can order multiple copies of the certificate on the registration appointment booking form.
Buying multiple certificates allows you to communicate with many organisations at the same time, without having to wait for your documents to be returned to you. You might want to consider purchasing several certificates, as you may need to provide one to:
- insurance companies
- banks and building societies
- investment firms
- pensions administrators
- will executors or estate administrators
- utility companies
- local authorities
You cannot order extra certificates during your registration appointment telephone call, but you can order certificates at any time after.
5. Who can register a death
- a blood or marriage relation of the deceased
- a person present at death
- the occupier of the establishment the deceased was in, for example, if they died at hospital, a bereavement officer, if they died at home, an environmental officer
- the person causing the body to be buried or cremated
6. 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 will post out any certificates you paid for.
If you require copies of the death certificate please make a cheque or postal order payable to 'London Borough of Lambeth' for £11 for each certificate. 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, along with a cheque or postal order that is made out to the 'London Borough of Lambeth'. Sheffield Register Office 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.
7. Tell Us Once
Tell Us Once is a free service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go.
It enables you to report a death only once, telling central and local government services securely and confidentially without you having to inform them individually. 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, like Income Support
- Passport Office - to cancel a British passport
- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) - to cancel a driving licence and to remove registered keeper details
- 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 update pension records
How to use Tell Us Once
After you have registered the death with the Registrar, they will provide you with a unique Tell Us Once reference number, which will enable you to access the service online.
If you have been issued with an interim death certificate you may still be able to use the service. The Registrar will tell you how.
Before using Tell Us Once, it will help to have the deceased's:
- date of birth
- National Insurance number
- driving licence number
- vehicle registration number
- passport number
You will also need:
- details of any benefits or entitlements they were receiving, like State Pension or Universal Credit
- details of any local council services they were receiving, like Adult Social Services, a Blue Badge, or a travel pass
- the name and address of their next of kin
- the name and address of any surviving spouse or civil partner
- the name, address and contact details of the person or company dealing with their estate (property, belongings and money), known as their ‘executor’ or ‘administrator’
- details of any public sector or armed forces pension schemes they were getting or paying into
- permission is required from the next of kin, the executor, the administrator and anyone who was claiming benefits or entitlements jointly with the person who died, before you give their details
- there is no need for follow up contact after you have used Tell Us Once, unless you have not received a confirmation from the relevant department after a month
- once the various agencies informed by Tell Us Once have received notification of the death, they will make any necessary further contact with the bereaved family
- Tell Us Once is not a claim to benefit, please contact the relevant department for advice
- Tell Us Once does not notify any commercial organisations of the death and cannot arrange for redirection of post
8. Make an appointment to register a death by telephone
We offer appointments from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. The Register Office is closed on the first Wednesday of every month from 1pm.
We aim to speak to you within 10 minutes of your appointment time.