What to do when someone dies

When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements to be made. Some of these things can be done by a close relative or friend, others need to be done by the executor or administrator of the estate.

Collect the death certificate

Before you can register a death, the doctor treating the deceased will issue a medical certificate of cause of death. This will be given to the deceased's relatives. 

If the death was sudden or the doctor treating the deceased is unavailable it may not be possible for a medical certificate of cause of death to be issued. If so, the death will have to be reported to the coroner. This may lead to a delay in registering the death.

Register the death

Every death in England or Wales must be registered in the district in which it takes place. This must be done within five days of the date of death.

'Tell Us Once' service

Tell Us Once is a new government service that will help you with your recent bereavement. It allows you to inform all relevant central and local government departments by phone or onlineabout the person who has died. The Registrar will discuss this with you at your death registration appointment.

You could also register the name and address of the deceased person with the Bereavement Register, which tries to prevent post being sent to people who have died.

Further information

Bereavement support