When a person dies, it is necessary to register the death and obtain an official death certificate – once registered, you will then be able to proceed with arranging the funeral and service.
At A. H. Freemantle, we are always on hand to help guide you through this difficult time and as such, we’ve created this guide that will help you understand everything there is for registering a death in the UK and whether a funeral director can register a death on your behalf.
When someone dies…
When someone dies there are many things that you will need to take care of, from registering the death to notifying particular organisations. Understanding what you need to do may help ease some of the stress or confusion you may be feeling and a funeral director will be able to help with this process.
How long do you have to register a death?
Some deaths may be unexpected and this can cause shock and confusion amongst family members, but it is important to register the death in a timely manner. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you have up to 5 days to register a death and in Scotland, you have up to 8 days to register a death.
Who can register a death?
The first 5 days from when a loved one has passed will be some of the most difficult times you may face, however legal requirements and necessities still need to be carried out. Registering a death is typically carried out by a family member of the deceased person, alternatively, if there are no relatives available, the death can instead be registered by: someone who was present when they died, someone who lived with them or by someone who is arranging the funeral. You should register a death at your local registry office.
Can a funeral director register a death?
Whilst a funeral home can help you with other details regarding the death of a loved one and the subsequent funeral, funeral directors cannot register a death. Funeral directors are also not required to be aware of the cause of death to undertake funeral preparations.
What happens after registering a death?
When a death has been registered (it approximately takes 30 minutes to receive a death certificate from your local register office, however, it is always advisable to make an appointment in advance to avoid any unnecessary delays), you will be given a Certificate of Registration of Death and a number of other documents. These other documents will vary depending on where you are in the UK.
England and Wales: Green Certificate
Northern Ireland: GRO21 form
Scotland: Registration or Notification of Death
Who can collect a death certificate?
Not everyone can retrieve a death certificate – the following people can register a death and collect a death certificate:
- A relative of the deceased
- Someone who was present at the death
- Someone who lives at the address where the death occurred
- Someone who is arranging the funeral
Similar to registering a death, a funeral director cannot collect a death certificate.
Whilst funeral directors and undertakers cannot directly register a death or collect a copy of the death certificate, they can help guide you through the process of doing so. An undertaker will help manage legal requirements and death notices as this comes under their job description – so don’t put pressure on yourself to know how to handle these things! See our guide on what a funeral director does for more information.
If after reading this article you still have questions, feel free to contact our offices.