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When you have suffered a bereavement it is very difficult to know what to do first and how to cope with the legalities and paperwork that a death inevitably causes.

The following pages explain the procedure for registering the death and should answer most, if not all, of your questions. Naturally, we can’t include everything about death registration on this website so if there is anything that you’re not sure about please feel free to call the Register Office and our experienced staff will do all they can to advise you.

How quickly can the death be registered?

It is possible to register the death as soon as you have obtained either a ‘Medical Certificate of Death’ from the Hospital/Doctor or a Form Part B from the Coroners Office - the only exception being when an inquest is being held. In this case the registration of death will only occur once the Coroner has given his permission.

Legally, the death must be registered within five days of it occurring - though this period may be extended in certain circumstances, for example when the Coroner has been consulted. If you are unsure about the time limitations, or think you may not be able to register within five days, please telephone the Register Office for further information.

Where can the death be registered?

A death can only be registered in the registration district in which the death occurred. If the death occurred at an address located within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea then it must be registered at the Kensington and Chelsea Register Office. You may do this in person here at the Chelsea Old Town Hall or by declaration at any other Register Office in England or Wales.

Registration in person

If you wish to attend this Register Office to register the death then you may do so without an appointment. You will need to attend this office between the hours of 9.00 and 16.00 Monday to Friday and a member of staff will see you as soon as possible. If all the Registrars are busy you may be asked to wait for a while until a member of staff becomes free. If you would prefer to book an appointment then you are welcome to do so and you can make an appointment by contacting the Register Office during our normal opening hours.

Registration by declaration

If it is too distressing or not convenient for you to attend this office to register the death then you may go to any other Register Office in England or Wales to register by ‘Death Declaration’. When you attend that Register Office the Registrar who sees you will record the relevant information and act as an intermediary, passing the details to the Registrar at Chelsea by post.

In this case any death certificates you require and the authority allowing the funeral director to proceed with arrangements will be sent to you by post. If you wish to obtain any death certificates then you will need to enclose the appropriate payment of £4.00 per certificate (at the time of registration).  Please remember however that such arrangements rely on many different organisations and services (postal services, part time register offices etc.) and this will inevitably delay the arrangements you are making for the funeral. If you choose to use this facility please telephone the Register Office at Chelsea in advance of your attendance for further information. However, please remember that you have a legal obligation to register the death within five days.

Important – If you wish to register the death by declaration, for future reference please remember that copies of death certificates are only available from the office where the death is registered and not where the death declaration was made.

Who is able to register the 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 rare circumstances another person may qualify as an informant - if you think that this may be the case then you should contact the Register Office for further advice

Important - an executor is not automatically entitled to register a death unless they are also arranging the funeral.

If English is not your first language and you would 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 must be registered by a qualified informant and, regrettably, a friend cannot register on your behalf.

What information needs to be supplied to the Registrar?

When you attend to register the death, the Registrar will need to see the following documents:

  • 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 if you have the deceased’s passport, birth certificate and (if applicable) marriage certificate to hand but these documents are not essential provided you are able to give the Registrar the correct information

In addition the Registrar will 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 county if born in the United Kingdom, and country if born abroad)
  • 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)

Documents provided by the Registrar

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 is known as the Green Form and 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 the 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 death certificates

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 and this is currently £4.00 per copy at the time of registration. The ‘original’ is the actual entry in the register and any copies issued from it carry the statutory fee which, unfortunately, we are unable to waive. You may purchase as many certificates as you need at the time of registration, for a fee of £4.00  per certificate. The day after the registration the price of these certificates will increase to £7.00 until such time as the Register has been completed.

Once the Register has been completed and deposited in the vault, the cost of any further certificates you may wish to purchase increases to £10.00 per copy.

Please remember that if you chose to go to another Register Office and make a death declaration, and you wish to purchase certificates, you will need to enclose the appropriate payment of £4.00 per certificate (at the time of registration).  The certificates will then be forwarded on to you from Chelsea once the death has been registered here.

Important - Copies of death certificates are only available from the office where the death is registered and not where the death declaration was made.

You may need a death certificate for the Will and for any pension claims, insurance policies, bank accounts and premium bonds and it is easier to purchase these copies at the time you visit the Registrar. If the Registrar at Chelsea is unable to issue all the certificates you require immediately, these can be posted on to you by first class post later that day. (If you choose to declare a death at another office you can leave a cheque with the Registrar who will include it with documents sent to Chelsea).

If you have any further questions, or would like to make an appointment, please telephone the Register Office on 020 7361 4100 between 9am and 4pm (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays) or 9am and 7pm (Thursdays). Please remember that the appointment system is available to assist you at this distressing time. Be assured that our staff will make every effort to ensure your visit here is as simple and straightforward as possible.

If the death has already been registered and you wish to apply for a copy of a death certificate from the Kensington and Chelsea Register Office, see Obtaining a copy of a birth, death, marriage or civil partnership certificate.