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22 April 2020

How to register a death during the coronavirus pandemic

Registries are now closed to the public so how do the bereaved go about registering the death of a loved one?

It remains the case that registration must take place in the district where the death occurred and must be completed within 5 days (unless the death has been referred to the coroner).

So what are the changes?

The Coronavirus Act 2020 has introduced new measures to enable informants to register a death over the telephone. It also allows funeral directors to register the death where they are arranging the funeral.

What does the new process involve?

We recommend that you contact the registry concerned to find out specific requirements, but the process will usually involve completing an online pre-registration form available from the website of the local authority in which the death took place. 

A medical certificate of cause of death was previously given to the person who would be registering the death (the informant), but now the certifying doctor will email over a copy of the certificate directly to the registry who will be registering the death.

On receipt of the medical cause of death certificate, and once the informant has completed the online registration form, the registrar will contact the informant by telephone and ask for confirmation of all the information that would normally be requested when registering a death.

The information requested includes:

  • Date and place of death
  • Full name of the deceased (including a maiden name or any names previously used)
  • Date and place of birth
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving spouse or late spouse or civil partner
  • The deceased’s occupation and usual address
  • The informant’s name and address
  • The informant’s qualification for registering the death: this can be a relative, someone present at the death, or the person who is in charge of making funeral arrangements.

The registrar will then ask the informant to certify over the telephone that the information provided is correct, before producing the death certificate.

What happens next?

The registrar completes the formal registration and the informant is given the opportunity of purchasing certified copy death certificates over the telephone (£11 per certificate). These will then be sent by post to the informant.

The registrar will also send or email the Tell Us Once form to the informant, which allows the informant to collectively notify various government institutions (including the DWP, DVLA, local authorities, and HM Revenue and Customs).

The registrar will also send the necessary documentation to the funeral directors to enable them to proceed with funeral arrangements.

If you would to discuss this further or gain information on any aspect of probate at this time please contact Natalie Boorer or the Wills Trusts & Probate team on 01753 889995 or email enquiries@bpcollins.co.uk

Natalie Boorer

Natalie Boorer

Tel: 01753 279091 | 07827 036892

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