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Registering a death

One of the first duties that arises after a death is for someone to visit the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages covering the district where the death occurred to record the death in the official Register.

If it is difficult for you to travel to the district where the death occurred it is possible to register by declaration at your own local register office, although the procedure can delay the production of the certificate which will allow the funeral to proceed.Various people are permitted to register a death, although the Registrar will prefer a relative of the deceased to attend to it.

Those eligible to register a death include:

  • A relative of the deceased
  • A person present at the death
  • The occupier of the premises if aware of the death happening
  • The person causing the disposal of the body (this means the person instructing the undertaker and signing the forms to allow the funeral to take place)

The registration of the death is one of the few things that the funeral director is not allowed to do on your behalf, but we will give full advice and assistance on all matters relating to registration. The Department of Work and Pensions booklet "What to do after a death" - which is available from us - also has helpful information on this subject.

When you visit the Register Office you will need to take the Doctor's Certificate of Cause of Death with you. We are able to liaise with the surgery to obtain this certificate for you. If you wish we will be pleased to collect it for you and deliver it to the Register Office. (A different procedure is followed if the death is reported to the Coroner). The death must be registered within five days. If you have the deceased person’s medical card, birth certificate, marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate you could take those with you although if you don’t have them it won’t stop you from successfully registering the death.

The office responsible for dealing with the registration of deaths in the Hastings & Rother area of East Sussex is the Hastings Register Office, Town Hall, Queens Road, Hastings TN34 1QR. The office is open for the registration of deaths from Monday to Friday, 9:00 - 5:00. They do not close for lunch. You should telephone them on (01424) 726 530 to make an appointment.

(If the death has been reported to the Coroner we will be able to advise you when you have to visit the Register Office and what has to be done.)

The Registrar will ask you to provide the following information:

  • The date and place of death
  • The deceased person's full name (and maiden name if applicable)
  • Their usual address
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their occupation
  • If the deceased person was a widow, widower or surviving civil partner, the full name and occupation of their late husband, wife or civil partner
  • If the deceased person was married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower or surviving civil partner
  • Whether the deceased person was receiving a pension or other allowance from public funds

Once the information has been entered into the official register the Registrar will be able to give you the various certificates you will need:

One or more certified copies of the entry in the register (currently £11.00 each) - if a solicitor or bank asks you for an original death certificate they are referring to one of these certified copies of the entry in the register.

Form BD8 - if the Department of Work and Pensions needs to know about the death (issued free-of-charge).

Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the green certificate) (issued free-of-charge) which we will need so that we can deliver it to the relevant cremation or burial authority.