You can choose to contact the authorities either before or after you’ve spoken to a funeral director, but all deaths must be registered within five days.

This should be done by the person closest to the deceased and at the Registrar Office nearest to where the death occurred. This is the case even if it was a distance from home and, although a Declaration can be made to register a death in another area, this can often cause a delay.

If you’re registering a death that was unexpected, you’ll need to take along a medical certificate showing cause of death, signed by a doctor.

Also take, if possible, the individual’s birth certificate, council tax bill, driving licence, marriage or civil partnership certificate, NHS medical card and passport – along with proof of your own identity and address (such as a utility bill).

The registrar will need the person’s full name, any names used previously (including maiden name), date and place of birth, their last address, their occupation, the full name, birth date and occupation of any surviving spouse/partner and whether or not the deceased was receiving a state pension or other benefits.

Once you’ve signed the register, certifying that the information you’ve given is correct, the registrar will issue you with a copy of the entry, a Notification of Death (needed to claim benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions).

He or she will also hand over a green Registrar’s Certificate for burial or cremation, which should be handed to your funeral director. No funeral can take place without the registration being in place.

It will also save time if you also inform the GP practice with whom the deceased was registered.

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