The procedure for registering a death is outlined below. If there's anything you're unsure of, please call the Register Office on 01642 729004 and our experienced staff will advise you.
When to register a death
It's possible to register the death as soon as you've obtained either a 'Medical Certificate of Death' from the hospital/doctor or a Form 100 from the Coroner's Office.
The exception is when an inquest is being held. In this case the registration of death will only occur once the inquest has been concluded and the coroner has given his or her permission.
Legally, the death must be registered within five days of it occurring. This period may be extended in certain circumstances, for example when the coroner has been consulted. If you're unsure about the time limitations, or think you may not be able to register within five days, please call the Register Office on 01642 729004 for more information.
Where to register a death
A death can only be registered in the registration district in which it occurred. If the death occurred at an address located within Middlesbrough then it must be registered at Middlesbrough Register Office. You may do this in person or by declaration at any other register office in England or Wales.
If you wish to register a death by a declaration, the Registrar will record the relevant information and act as an intermediary, passing the details to the Registrar in Middlesbrough by post. Any death certificates you require, and the authority to allow the funeral director to proceed with arrangements, will be sent to you by post. If you wish to obtain any death certificates then you'll need to enclose the appropriate payment (please view the applying for a certificate document). Such arrangements will inevitably delay the arrangements you're making for the funeral. If you choose to use this service please telephone Middlesbrough Register Office in advance of your attendance.
Please remember that copies of death certificates are only available from the office where the death is registered (i.e. Middlesbrough) and not where the declaration of death was made.
Death at James Cook University Hospital
James Cook University Hospital has a dedicated bereavement service including a registrar in the hospital grounds. This service will contact you, usually the next working day following the death, and make arrangements for you to register the death at the hospital.
Who can register a death
The death must be registered by a qualified informant and this person must be one of the following:
- a relative, usually the closest one
- someone who was present at the death
- someone who is instructing the funeral director
- In certain circumstances another person may qualify to register the death, but this is rare. If you think this may be the case, please contact the Register Office on 01642 729004 for advice.
Please note that an executor is not automatically entitled to register a death unless they're also arranging the funeral.
If English isn't your first language and you'd like someone to help you with the registration, please feel free to ask a relative or friend to accompany you to the Register Office. However, please remember that the death cannot be registered by a friend on your behalf.
The following information should be supplied to the Registrar to register the death.
- a 'Medical Certificate of Cause of Death' (as issued by the doctor who certified the death)
- if the doctor has had to inform the coroner about the death, the coroner may need to issue another certificate and in that case, the Registrar will need the coroner's document in order to register the death
- the deceased's NHS medical card (if available)
- it is also useful to have the deceased's passport, birth certificate and (if applicable) marriage certificate to hand, but these documents are not essential provided you're able to give the Registrar the correct information.
The Registrar will also need to know the following information:
- the date and place of death
- the deceased's last (usual) address
- the deceased's full names and surnames (and the maiden surname where appropriate)
- the deceased's date and place of birth (town and country if born in the UK; country if born overseas)
- the deceased's occupation and the name and occupation of their spouse, and of previous spouses (if appropriate)
- whether the deceased was receiving a pension or allowance from public funds
- if the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower
- other statistical information (some of which you are required by law to give)
The Registrar will give you, free of charge, the following:
- A Certificate of Registration of Death (Form BD8)
This is for social security purposes only. Read the information on the back of the certificate and if any of it applies to you, fill in the certificate and send it or hand it in to your Social Security Office.
- A Certificate for Burial or Cremation (Form 9)
This gives permission for the body to be buried or for an application for cremation to be made, and should be delivered to the funeral directors so that a funeral can be held. However, in certain circumstances the coroner may make one the following available in place of the above:
i) an Order for Burial (Form 101)
ii) a Certificate for Cremation (Form E)
Obtaining a death certificate
A death certificate is a certified copy of the entry in the Register of Deaths. The Registrar can issue copies of this on payment of a statutory fee of £4. Immediately after the registration the price of these certificates will increase to £7 until such time as the Register has been completed. Once the Register has been completed and deposited in the vault, the fee appropriate to deposited registers will apply.
Please remember that if you chose to go to another register office and make a death declaration, and you wish to purchase certificates, you'll need to enclose the appropriate payment. The certificates will then be forwarded on to you from Middlesbrough Register Office once the death has been registered here.
You may need a death certificate for the will and for any pension claims, insurance policies, bank accounts and premium bonds, and it's easier to purchase these copies at the time you visit the Registrar. If the Registrar is unable to immediately issue all the certificates you need, these can be posted to you by first class post later that day.
If you choose to declare a death at another office you can leave a cheque made payable to Middlesbrough Council with the Registrar who will include it with documents sent to Middlesbrough Register Office.
Further details regarding obtaining death certificates can be found in the applying for a certificate document.
Tell Us Once
When someone dies there are lots of things that need to be done, at a time when you feel least like doing them. The Tell Us Once service can, with your permission, contact other organisations to inform them of the death. You'll be offered this service when you contact the Register Office to register a death. More information is available in the Tell Us Once leaflet.