Prior to the outbreak of Coronavirus, deaths had to be registered in person at the Register Office. The person registering the death (known as the informant), usually a family member or the executor, would sign the register in the presence of the registrar.
However, due to current restrictions, face-to-face registration is no longer possible and registration offices are closed. The Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force throughout the United Kingdom on 26 March 2020 and the Remote Registrations system is now live to allow registrars to take ‘remote’ registration of deaths by telephone or electronic means.
Who can register a death?
- a close relative
- a relative in attendance during the last illness
- the person’s executor or other legal representative
- the person arranging the funeral
Which documents are required?
- The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (this is sent directly to the Registrar by the GP/ hospital bereavement office)
- birth certificate
- national insurance number
Don’t worry if you can’t find all of these documents – you’ll still be able to register the death without them. The registrar will want to know:
- the person’s full name (at the time of their death)
- any other names that the person used (eg a birth or married name)
- their date and place of birth, including the town and county if they were born in the UK, or just the country if they were born abroad
- their last address
- their occupation or last occupation if now retired
- the full name of their husband, wife or civil partner, if they’ve died
- details of any state pension or other state benefit they were receiving.
Here we set out the steps required to register a death during the current pandemic:
- Doctors will send an electronic copy of the Medical Certificate Cause of Death to the specified registrar
- The informant should contact the registrar by telephone to make arrangements to begin the death registration process
The registrar will complete a template of how the register entry will look and email this to the informant to review and approve. If no email available the details will be read out over the phone.
A scanned copy of the Certificate of Registration of Death will then be emailed to the informant and/or the funeral director.
The death certificate will be posted to informant in due course.