Reporting a death

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Dealing with the death of a loved one can be a painful time but there are certain things that must be done in the first few days. You will need to:

  • get a medical certificate from a doctor (GP or at a hospital)
  • register the death and then you will get the documents you need for the funeral.
  • arrange the funeral – you can use a funeral director or do it yourself.

Registering a death

Deaths should be registered within five days of the death. Depending on the circumstances of the death, the documents you will need and documents you will get may vary. You should contact the registry office in area where the person died and arrange an appointment. They will tell you what you need to bring.

If a death needs to be reported to a coroner

There are a number of reasons why a death will have to be reported to a coroner. That will normally be done by a doctor or the police, but it will only happen if there are abnormal circumstances surrounding the death.

If the coroner decides that a post mortem examination is required, you cannot object to it. If you request it, the coroner can tell you the date and location of where the examination will take place. This would usually be at the mortuary or hospital.

The death cannot be registered until after the inquest, but the coroner can give you a certificate to show the person is dead.

Funeral costs

If you are arranging the funeral, you will be responsible for paying the final bill and it is important to know where the money for the funeral will come from. You may be able to meet the cost of the funeral yourself or with other members of the family and friends

You may also be able to get money from the person’s estate. To get access to this, you will need to apply for a grant of representation.

There is no general death grant, but if you are on a low income and need help to pay for a funeral, you could apply to get a funeral payment.

To qualify for Funeral Payment you must be responsible for the funeral and:

  • claim within three months of the funeral
  • get certain benefits or tax credits
  • meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased

Inform relevant organisations about death

If you are administering an estate, you can ask the local council if they offer a ‘Tell Us Once’ service. This would assist in notifying the different government departments and services such as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the National Insurance Contributions Office and the DVLA. Otherwise, you will have to contact them separately.

You should also notify their bank and any other financial institutions, as well as their local council.

Bereavement Allowance

If you are between 45 years old and the State pension age and you are the widow, widower or surviving civil partner of a deceased, you may be able to claim a Bereavement Allowance. This payment is made to you for up to 52 weeks from the date of death of your husband, wife or civil partner. You can find out if you are eligible and download a Bereavement Benefits pack (form BB1)(PDF) from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website.

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