Registering a death

Information on how to register a death which should be done within 5 days of the date of death.

It is difficult to know what to do when you have suffered a bereavement. The first step is to register the death and this should be done within 5 days of the date of death. 

If the death occurred within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, you can book an appointment to register the death.

The information below explains how to register the death and should answer most, if not all, of your questions. If there is anything you are unsure about after reading these details please feel free to call the Register Office on 020 7361 4100 or email us at registrars@rbkc.gov.uk.

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 the paperwork has been issued to Registrars by the Coroners’ Office. The only exception being when an inquest is being held and in this case the registration of death will only occur once the Coroner has given their 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 on 020 7361 4100 or email us at registrars@rbkc.gov.uk for further information.

Registration in personWe operate on an appointment only basis here at the Kensington and Chelsea Register Office, and you may book your appointment online to register a death. We apologise but if you attend without an appointment we may not be able to see you and you may have to make an appointment to come back another day.

Registration by declaration

If you are not able to attend this office to register the death then you can go to any other register office in England or Wales to register by declaration. This is a slower process and you should be aware of the following:

  • The registration takes place when we receive your declaration by post from the other register office.
  • We will post your documentation, including the funeral form, to you after registration. You may not be able to arrange a funeral until this arrives.

If you have any questions about registering by declaration please call us on 0207 361 4100 or email us at: registrars@rbkc.gov.uk

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 relative, someone present at the death, or the person arranging the funeral and, regrettably, a friend cannot register on your behalf. You do not need to provide documentation to prove your relationship to the deceased.

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

Documents provided by the RegistrarThe 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)

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.