How a Death is Registered
The death must be registered at the local office of Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the district where the death occurred, as soon as possible usually within 5 days of the death (unless the registrar extends this period). If the death has been referred to the Coroner, the procedure is slightly different. We will advise you concerning this.
Who May Go to Register the Death
Regulations state that only certain people can register a death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
● Deaths in private residence, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. A relative of the deceased.
● The occupier i.e. the Matron or Officer in charge of a Nursing Home or Rest Home, provided they knew of the
illness before the death.
● The person causing the disposal of the body, i.e. and executor, the solicitor or similar.
When You Go to the Registrar
You should take the following:
● The Medical Certificate of the cause of death,
● The Birth Certificate (if available).
● The deceased’s Medical Card (if available).
● National Insurance Number
● Any forms given to you, if the death has been reported to the coroner.
You Should Tell the Registrar the Deceased's:
● Date and place of death.
● Last usual address.
● First names and surname (and maiden name if applicable). Also whether the deceased was in receipt of any
pension or allowance from public funds, and if married, the date of birth of the surviving spouse.
The Registrar will give you:
● A Certificate for burial or cremation (know as The Green Form), unless the Coroner has given an Order for
Burial or a Certificate for Cremation. Whichever form you are given will be needed by the Funeral Director
so the funeral can be held.
● A Certificate if Registration of Death. This is to be handed in at the D.S.S along with any pension books.
You will be able to purchase Certified Copies of an Entry Certificate, these may be required for any pension
claims, insurance policies or financial matters, normally one or two copies would be sufficient.
● Bishop Auckland 03000 260 600
● Darlington 01325 346 604
● Durham 03000 263 263
People to Inform:
There are various people, companies and other interested parties who should be informed of the death.
These may include:
● Local Social Services if meals on wheels, home help, day centre transport used.
● Any hospital the deceased was attending.
● The family doctor.
● The Local Inland Revenue Office.
● The Local Social Security Office to cancel allowances, benefits etc.
● Any employer or trade union.
● Car insurance company – people driving a car insured in the deceased name are not legally insured.
● Local Offices of British Gas, Electricity, British Telecom, Royal Mail Deliveries, Local Newsagent.
● Bank or Building Society.
● Council Tax Office.
● Employer’s personnel department where an occupational pension was paid from.
Things May Need Returning
Items such as order books and giro cheques will have to be returned to the appropriate Social Security Office. A note should be kept of all reference numbers of items returned. The deceased’s passport, driving licence, car registration documents, membership cards and National Insurance papers, must all be returned to the relevant offices. Check for any library books that may need returning. Any N.H.S equipment will need to be returned to either hospital or health centre from where it came.
How to Obtain Probate - What is Probate?
When a person dies somebody has to deal with their estate (the money, property and possessions left). This involves collecting in all the money, paying debts and distributing the estate to those entitled.
The Probate Registry issues the document which is called A GRANT OF REPRESENTATION.
There are three types of grant
● Probate – Issued to one or more of the executors named in the will.
● Letters of Administration (the will) – Issued when there is a will, but the executor is unable to deal
with the estate, or no executor is named.
● Letters of Administration – issued when the deceased has not made a will or it is not valid.
Why is a Grant Needed?
Organisations holding money in the deceased’s name need to know to whom the money is to be paid. The distribution of the estate is the responsibility of the person named on the deed.
Is a Grant Always Needed?
A grant is sometimes not needed if the deceased’s money will be released without the holder seeing a grant of representation. This may apply when the amount held is small and there are no complications.
You should ascertain if the deceased made a will and consult the solicitor who holds it, to see what the deceased’s wished were regarding funeral arrangements. The will, should also disclose the names of the executors or the persons legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s estate. Your solicitor will assist you with administration of the estate and any questions relating to taxation that may arise.
Donations to Charity
If donations to charity are requested in lieu of flowers we will accept donations on your behalf. In due course these will be sent to the charity of your choice.
Costs and Charges
Whilst arranging the funeral, we will advise on costs and charges to be incurred, so that you feel confident with the funeral commitment you have arranged. The funeral account is divided into two separate parts: - the funeral Director’s charges, and the disbursements.
The Funeral Directors Charges
These contain our professional fees making the funeral arrangements, arranging documentation and necessary personal attendance, the conveyance of the deceased to our private chapel of rest and the use of the same until the day of the funeral. Relatives and friends often wish to visit the deceased and pay their respects before the day of the funeral. Hygienic treatment and attendance to the deceased are also considered to be very important. The last time you saw a loved one may have been a distressing memory, perhaps in hospital or for the purpose of identification. In any event we believe that in asking us to look after a member of your family you would like to be certain the best that could be done for your relative has been done whether you wish to visit the deceased before the funeral or not. The hearse for the funeral, a chauffeur and sufficient bearers, are also an essential part of our service to you. Limousines are charged separately. This ensures that the family is not charged for something they may not need or want. Each limousine is chauffer driven and will normally carry up to seven mourners.
Disbursements are fees that we pay out on behalf of the family, i.e. Doctors Fees, where appropriate, Crematorium/Cemetery Fees and parochial Fees, Floral Tributes and catering requirements, etc. We have no direct control over these charges and they could therefore be subject to slight variations. In some cases the cost of the disbursements may need to be met before the funeral can be arranged. These maybe settled by one single payment, rather than by many different bills to be settled by the estate.
Doctors Fees for Cremation Forms
There are two cremation certificates (forms 4&5). Each must be signed by a different doctor. These certificates must be paid for and will be listed under disbursements on our account. The cremation certificates are not required when the death is referred to the coroner.
Help With the Funeral Costs
You may receive help if there is not enough money to pay for the funeral arrangements if you or your partners receive one of the following:
● Income Support
● Income based Job Seekers Allowance
● Housing Benefits
● Council Tax Benefits
● Working Families Tax Credit
How to Claim
Complete for SF200 Funeral Payment from the Social Fund. Send it to your Social Security Office with the documents requested, within 3 months of the date of the funeral. Send the Funeral Director’s final bill as soon as you get it.
Help and Advice
If you want to talk to some one about Funeral Payments, get in touch with your Social Security Office. The telephone number and address is on advert in the business number section of the phone book. Look under Benefits Agency. You can find out more about Funeral Payments from the Social Fund in leaflet SB16, a guide to the Social Fund.