Registering a Death
In most cases, a death should be registered within 5 days in the locality in which the person has died. However, there will be some occasions where this is not possible, for example if it takes some time for the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to be obtained. In this case the registrar will likely give permission for a 14 days extension.
We can provide you with detailed information regarding local registry offices or you can contact them directly by telephone. You must make an appointment to register a death.
Usually, it would be a family member who would register the death but it could also be the person organising the funeral (not the funeral director), such as a care home manager or hospital administrator. You must have the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death in order to complete registration process and you also need to know the individual’s full name, main address and date of birth. You should also have the details of the date and place of death to give to the registrar.
Ideally, the registrar would also like to know the individual’s occupation, whether the individual was receiving any state benefits and if they were married, the name and date of the surviving widow or widower.
Once the death has been registered, you will be given:
Certified copy of the death certificate and a green form (the green form needs to be handed to the funeral director).
DWP form and contact details – which provides information relating to benefits
Tell us Once information and unique reference number – see below
The Registrar will provide you with the certified copy of the death certificate and extra copies can be purchased for an extra charge. Copies are likely to be required if you are dealing with the financial affairs of the person who has died.
Who do you need to inform?
There can be a wide range of organisations who must be informed that an individual has died, and if there is an executor then they are likely to take on this task. The tax office should be informed as soon as possible, and you can use the local “Tell Us Once” service to inform several government departments in one go. This service can be accessed when you register the death.
The Office of the Public Guardian may need to be informed (if there was a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney in place) and you may need to contact organisations such as occupational pension schemes, insurance companies, banks, utility companies, GPs, dentists etc.
You may also wish to register the name of the individual with the Bereavement Register as this tries to stop post being sent to people who have died. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require any assistance as we will be able to provide basic guidance or signpost you if you require more expert assistance.
Tell us once service
Many authorities have a ‘Tell us Once’ service which allows you to inform a number of government departments about a death in one go. It is a free and optional service which is available once you have registered the death with the registrar. You will be given a unique reference number to use, either online or by telephone (on 0800 0857308).
If you choose to use the ‘Tell us Once’ service, you will need:
The person who has died’s date of birth, national insurance number, driving licence number and passport number (if they had one)
Details of any benefits and pensions
Details of any local council services, for example the blue badge scheme
Contact details for the next of kin
Contact details for the person dealing with the deceased’s estate
With this information, ‘Tell us Once’ will then inform:
HMRC – to organise tax and benefit cancellation
DWP – to cancel benefits
Local council – to cancel housing benefit, council tax information, blue badge and to remove from the electoral register
Public sector or Armed Forces – to manage relevant pensions
Support to Pay for a Funeral
When someone dies, the individuals planning the funeral are responsible for paying for it. This can be difficult if people do not have much money to spare. When the individual who has died has made a provision for their funeral within their estate, it may take some time for this money to be released.
If you are responsible for arranging the funeral, are on a low income, and the person who has died has little funds in their estate to pay for the funeral, you may be eligible for a Funeral Payment to cover some aspects of the cost. These payments are made through the social fund and may cover the costs of any third party charges (crematorium fee, Doctors fees, Celebrant fee) and the services of a funeral director of up to £1,000. It is important to know that this support may not cover the full cost of a funeral, but the contribution will nevertheless be invaluable. For further information, please visit www.gov.uk/funeral-payments or contact us for support.
You won’t get a definite decision on your application until after the funeral, so it is important that you carefully check beforehand whether you meet the criteria for funding. You should be aware that, no matter how any funeral is paid, we require all third party costs to be paid for in advance of the funeral, but it should be noted that the DWP will not pay this before the funeral takes place.
If you don’t qualify for the Funeral Payment, you may be able to get a Budgeted Loan from the Social Fund. In some circumstances the council may arrange a Public Welfare Fund, although they may seek the costs back from the estate. For more information, please contact your local council.
There are many ways to receive support to pay for a funeral including voluntary and private organisations who provide information and guidance on how to access any financial support. One example of such an organisation can be found at https://www.turn2us.org.uk/get-support