There are some specific rules about who can register a death, and in fact the death should be registered by one of the following (listed in priority order); a relative who was present at the death, a relative who witnessed the deceased’s last illness, a relative living in the area where the death occurred, a non-relative who was present at the death, an owner or an occupier of the building where the death occurred, or the person who is arranging the deceased’s funeral.
If (from the list above) you’re responsible for registering a death, then bear in mind that this responsibility cannot be delegated, and in fact not registering a death is against the law.
You must register the death, usually within five days, and you have to attend the register office in person. You can go to any register office but if you go to the one for the area where the person died you will get your documents immediately. Otherwise, there may be a wait of several days.
When you contact the appropriate register office, they’ll make an appointment to see you and they’ll also confirm the information and documents they will need to see. Usually this means you’ll need to take all or some of the following related to the person who died; their full name and home (or last) address, date and place of birth, date and place of death, NHS number, birth certificate, marriage certificate, occupation, marital status (single, married, divorced, widowed), spouse’s date of birth, any pension or social security details.
The registrar will issue you with a certificate of registration of death (used for sorting out state pensions or benefits) and a certificate for burial or cremation (the ‘green form’) which authorises burial or an application for cremation.
You may also want to pay for one or more death certificates. These are copies of the official entry in the death register and prove that the death has been registered. You will need the death certificate to sort out your relative’s financial affairs — for example, to show to their bank, to inform utility suppliers and so on. Some people often opt to purchase several copies of the death certificate when they visit the register office to register the death, as it can subsequently take time to order copies. If you do need copies of the death certificate then this can be done through the DirectGov website.