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How to register a death

A death should be registered within 5 days, unless the coroner is involved and then this time may be extended.

Registering a death should ideally be done by a relative or next of kin, but this is not always possible. Other people that can register a death are: someone present at the death, a staff member from a nursing home/hospital, the person making the funeral arrangements. You should try to register a death in the district in which the person has died, as this will be the quickest option. However, if you can do it at your local registrar – and declare the necessary information – this is called Registration by Declaration. The registrar will then post the details to the correct registar, though this can cause a delay in funeral plans by at least 7 days.

You will need to have several documents with you and know certain information, so it’s good to be prepared.

The registrar will need to know:

  • the date and place of death
  • details of the deceased (including all names, occupation (last main paid), details of spouse, address, and details of any public sector pensions)

The registrar will also want to know your relationship to the deceased, as well as your name and address.

In order to register a death, you will need the medical cause of death certificate. Or in the case of the coroner’s, they will give you confirmation that the paperwork has been submitted. It is also useful to have the following: passport, driving licence, council tax bill, marriage or civil partnership certificate, NHS medical card, and proof of address. However, all of these documents are not necessary, and the registrar can usually find a way around it. Verify what you need to bring when you call to make your appointment.

You will need to book an appointment at the Registrar Office through the government website. But wait to book the appointment once the doctor or hospital have made you aware that the paperwork has been sent on to them. For the Kent Registrar Office, go to www.kent.gov.uk/registration or ring 03000 415151.

After the registration is complete, you will receive a certificate for burial or cremation, also known as a green form. Your funeral arranger will need to provide this to the crematorium or relevant people to allow a cremation or burial to take place. The second document you will receive is the death certificate. You will only receive one of these but may need to purchase more to sort out the deceased’s affairs. It’s worth thinking about how many you might need before you go. The registrar will tell you about ‘Tell Us Once.’ This is a system that makes it easier to report the death to most government systems in one go.

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