Help and Guidance.

Below you will find a simple guide on what to do when someone passes away, it is of course a very distressing time so we have put together this useful information which may be of assistance, especially if you have never had to register a death before. We have also compiled this information into a downloadable PDF document which you can print out.

What to do when someone passes away.

If your loved one passes away at home and their death was expected, you will need to contact your Doctor. The Doctor will come and confirm the death and then sign a medical certificate confirming the cause of death. If the death occurs outside of surgery opening hours, then you will need to call the out of hours GP service or the ambulance service.

If the death was unexpected or you do not know the name of the persons GP, you should call the police. A Doctor is unable to issue a medical certificate if they are unsure about the cause of death. When this happens, the death must be reported to the coroner.

When the death happens in hospital, the Doctors there will issue the certificates. Bereavement service at the hospital will be in contact about collecting the medical certificate of death.

Registration of the death.

A death must be registered within 5 days of death.

Who can register the death? (the informant).

  • A relative.
  • Someone present at death.
  • An administrator from the hospital.
  • The person making the funeral arrangements.

Documents to take:

  • The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.
  • The Medical Card of the deceased (if available).

Information required about the deceased:

  • Full name and address (including maiden name if applicable).
  • Date and place of death.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • Occupation of the deceased.
  • Occupation of their spouse or civil partner.
  • Details of any pension or allowance from public funds.
  • Date of birth of any surviving spouse.

Information about yourself: the informant:

  • Full name and address.
  • Relationship to the deceased.

When registration complete the registrar will give you the following certificate:

  • A Certificate for Burial or Cremation

This is known as the “green form” which we must have as permission to arrange and carry out the funeral.

  • A Certificate of Registration of a Death

This form needs to be completed and sent off to the department of works and pensions so that they can deal with the persons pension and other benefits.

  • Death Certificates

Copies can be obtained for a charge and are required as legal proof of death to handle the deceased’s persons affairs and close their finances.

Referral to the coroner.

In some cases, you will not be given a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death because the cause of death must be established by the Coroner. The Coroner may require the death to be investigated by a post-mortem examination. The aim of a postmortem is to determine the cause of death. 

postmortem examination, also known as an autopsy, is the examination of a body after death. Postmortems are carried out by pathologists (doctors who specialise in understanding the nature and causes of disease).

The Black Country Coroner now give families the option for a noninvasive post-mortem examination, Recent advances in computerised scanning means that internal examinations can now be carried out using a scanner, which produces  digital images that are then looked at by a Doctor, without needing to carry out a physical examination of the deceased.

A post-mortem can delay funeral being arranged as registration cannot take place until the coroner has released the body.

Our staff are experienced in these matters and will maintain contact and keeping you informed about any progress and advising when any arrangements can be finalised.

Tell us once.

Most local councils run a service called TELL US ONCE it lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go.

The registrar will tell you about you using the tell us once service and give you a unique reference number to access the service online or by telephone. You may be able to use it at the time you register the death.

The service will notify:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – to deal with tax.
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – to cancel any benefits, e.g. income support.
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) – to cancel a driving license.
  • Passport Office- to cancel a passport.
  • The local council – to cancel any housing benefits, council tax benefit, a blue badge, inform council housing services and remove the person from the electoral register.