a. If the death occurs at home and is expected, ring the deceased’s GP who will provide a medical certificate. If the death is unexpected dial 999 and ask for the ambulance and police services. Where there is uncertainty about the cause of death the Coroner will be involved. Coroners are officers appointed by the Council to investigate any unexplained or sudden death. They are independent of both Local and Central Government and are required to act in accordance with laid down rules and procedures. Their contact details can be obtained from your local council offices.
b. If a death occurs in hospital the medical staff will issue the medical certificate and again involve the Coroner if there is uncertainty about the cause of death.
c. If a death occurs overseas you will need to follow the registration process of that particular country in order to obtain a death certificate and you must:
- Involve a funeral director from the country of death
- Confirm costs with the funeral director in order to make sure that you have sufficient funds or that the insurance policy will cover the cost of either repatriation of the body (bringing the body home) or the funeral
- Inform the local authorities in the country of death if the person has suffered from an infectious disease
- Inform the deceased’s GP of the death
However you may if you wish:
- Hold the funeral in that country
- Repatriate the body and hold the funeral in the UK, in order to do that you will need to:
- Contact the Registrar of deaths and perhaps the Coroner in the UK
- Obtain documents from the country of death
- Contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) via the British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate (telephone 0845 850 2829, website http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/). The FCO cannot give legal advice or pay for the funeral or return of a body to the UK.
d. Telephone the Registrar of Births and Deaths to make an appointment to register the death, contact details will be available through your local council offices and this should be done within 5 working days of the death unless the Coroner is involved. The Registrar will need to know:
- The date and place of death.
- The full name and surname and if the deceased was a married woman, the surname/family name used before marriage.
- The date and place of birth.
- The occupation. If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership then the full name and occupation of the spouse or civil partner.
- The usual address.
- If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of their spouse or civil partner.
- Whether the deceased received a pension or allowance from public funds, for example civil service or army pension.
- If you have the deceased’s medical card then take that as well.
The Registrar will issue a green disposal form for your funeral director to allow you to make the funeral arrangements. If the death was referred to the Coroner then the Coroner will inform you when the death can be registered or issue you with an interim certificate so funeral arrangemnets can take place. The Registrar will also give you a form for social security. Both these documents are free of charge.
You are likely to need certified copies of the register entry (the death certificate) to deal with any money or property belonging to the person who died.
Certificates may be needed for:
- Probate or letters of administration (more information below)
- Banks and building society accounts
- Insurance companies
- Stocks and shares
So it may be wise to get some copies, some organisations only accept certified copies which you can get at the time from the Registrar. Organisations will usually return the certified death certificate once they have processed the information but of course this may take time. The Registrar can advise on how many copies should be sufficient.
Presently the cost of each copy of a death certificate is from £4.00 when you register or from £8.00 each if you decide you need more at a later date. The appointment with the Registrar usually takes 30 minutes. They may also offer you the tell us once service – information can be found on the Leeds City Council registrars wesbsite.
e. Complete the Notification or Registration of Death (BD8) form that you were given by the Registrar of Deaths. Take this to the local Jobcentre Plus or Social Security office. This will inform every department using the National Insurance number of the death, but it is advisable to telephone appropriate pensions, benefits and tax offices as soon as possible to avoid inadvertent over-payment of pensions/benefits.