Registering a death
When must the death be registered?
How do I register a death?
Who can register a death?
What documents do I need to take to my appointment with the Registrar?
What information will the Registrar ask for?
Will I be given any documents at the end of the registration?
Do I need copies of the death certificate?
What will it cost?
Can I register at any Register Office
Is the procedure for registering a death different if there is an inquest?
Can I get help in an emergency?
When can I make the funeral arrangements?
What if I cannot speak or understand English?
How do I get a copy of a death certificate after registration?
Tell Us Once
By law you must register a death that occurred within Milton Keynes within five days, unless the Coroner is investigating.
Please find information of registering a still birth.
You can register a death by appointment only. Please telephone Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm to arrange an appointment with a Registrar. Please note, you will need to be in possession of the Medical Certificate Cause of Death prior to making the appointment. If the Coroner has been informed of the death we will also need to have received their approval and paperwork before we can make an appointment. We are unable to register a death without the appropriate medical or Coroners paperwork.
Please arrive at least 10mins before your appointment to allow time to get checked in. If you are late we might not be able to see you.
You can register the death if:
- You are related to the person who has died;
- You were there when the person died;
- You live at the place where the person died and there is no known relative to register; or
- You are instructing the funeral director.
You can bring a friend or relative with you when you see the Registrar.
The Registrar will need the form from the doctor who attended the death to complete the registration (the Medical Certificate Cause of Death). If the Coroner dealt with the death they will tell you when you can register and will send us the documents we need. Without these documents we cannot register a death.
When attending to register you will be asked questions regarding names, dates, addresses, occupations and places which will feed into the register entry. In order to ensure the accuracy of the information recorded, and to reduce the need for corrections in the future, it would be useful if you could take supporting documentation with you, both relating to yourself and the deceased (e.g. passport, driving licence, proof of address such as a utility bill, birth and marriage certificates). Do not worry if any of these documents are not available as the Registrar can still proceed with the registration.
You will be asked to check everything carefully before signing the register as mistakes are difficult to correct. So please bring glasses or someone else to help you check if you have any concerns.
The Registrar will need the form (Medical Certificate Cause of Death) from the doctor who attended the death to complete the registration. If the Coroner dealt with the death they will be in touch and will tell you when you can register the death, they will send us the documents we need. Without the medical certificate and any coroners paperwork we cannot register a death.
When you arrive we will ask you for the Medical Certificate Cause of Death so that we can check it for completeness and accuracy before proceeding.
We will ask if the deceased is to be buried or cremated and who will be dealing with the funeral arrangements.
At the registration we will ask:
- The date and place of death
- The full name of the person who has died
- Their name before they were married, if this was different
- Their date and place of birth
- Their job and, if they were a married or in a civil partnership, the full name and job of their spouse or civil partner
- Their usual address
- The date of birth of their husband, wife or civil partner, if applicable
- Their National Health Service Medical card, if you have this.
The Registrar will give you a form which allows you to make arrangements for the burial or cremation. You will also be given a form for social security and pension reasons, however, if you use the Tell Us Once service this may not be required.
You may need copies of the death certificate for:
- Dealing with the will;
- Bank and building society accounts;
- Insurance companies; and
- Tax rebates
Registering the death, the document allowing you to arrange the burial or cremation, and the Social Security certificate are free. If you want copies of the death certificate, there is a fee. The fee is set by Parliament and is regularly reviewed.
If it is difficult for you to visit our office, you can go to any register office in England or Wales to give the details needed to register a death and pay for any certificates with a postal order. These details will then be sent to us via Royal Mail and once we receive these, via the other register office, we will then register the death and post the certificates to you.
Yes, the Coroner’s Officer will help you through this process.
If you need emergency help outside of our normal office hours, the Coroner’s Officer or Hospital Bereavement Officer will be able to help you. You can contact the Coroner’s Officer by phoning the police control room on 101, and ask for HBI or the Duty Inspector, or the Duty Officer at the hospital by phoning 01908 660033. We cannot guarantee we will be able to support any out of hours requests.
You can make preliminary arrangements but these cannot be confirmed until after the death has been registered. We will ask if the deceased is to be buried or cremated and who will be dealing with the funeral arrangements and this will be included on the paperwork we issue.
If English is not your first language and you would like someone to help you register, you can ask a friend or relative to come with you.
Milton Keynes Council also has a Community language service providing translators.
If the death occurred in Milton Keynes and has been registered already, the quickest way to get copy certificates is to apply online using a credit or debit card.
If the death occurred in another District you will need to contact them for copy certificates.
Find out how this Department of Work and Pensions service can help you. You might find the "When someone has died" checklist useful too.