Frequently asked questions about registering a death

I need to register a death. Do I need an appointment?Yes, you will need to book an appointment before attending the Register Office. You can book an appointment online. 

What documentation do I need to bring to my appointment? Do I need to bring ID for the deceased or myself?You must bring a medical cause of death certificate issued by a doctor, unless a post mortem has taken place. In this case, the coroner will send the necessary paperwork directly to the Register Office. 

It can be very helpful if you are able to bring important documents relating to the deceased such as their passport, birth certificate and marriage/ civil partnership certificates. However, if these are not available, then the registration can proceed without them.

You do not need to bring documentation for yourself.

What documentation will be issued to me after I have registered?In most cases, the registrar will give you a form to arrange a funeral (green form) unless this has already been issued by the coroner. You will also receive information about using the Tell Us Once Service. Finally, the death certificate costs £4 and you can purchase as many of these as you need.

Who can register a death?By law, only the following people can register a death:

  • A close relative
  • The person who is arranging the funeral. (such as the person who is instructing a funeral director)

In some circumstances another person who was present at the death may be able to register, but you should first contact registrars@rbkc.gov.uk for further information before booking an appointment. 

What happens if there are no next of kin, persons present at the death, or persons responsible for instructing the funeral directors?In the event that there is no qualified informant, you should talk with the bereavement co-ordinator of the hospital or nursing home where the death occurred, for further guidance. 

Do you offer the Tell Us Once Service?Yes, Kensington and Chelsea are partners with the Department of Work and Pensions and offer the Tell Us Once Service.

The death did not take place in Kensington and Chelsea. Can I still register at Kensington and Chelsea Register Office?A death can only be registered in the district where it occurred. If you are not able to easily attend that office, you can make a declaration at Kensington and Chelsea which we will send on to the relevant office.

This may slow things down as burial and cremation forms and death certificates cannot be issued until the declarations has been received by the relevant district. 

The person died abroad but was resident in Kensington and Chelsea. Do I need to register the death in this country?No, there is no need to register the death in this country if it occurred abroad. You may, however, be able to use the Tell Us Once Service. Please contact registrars@rbkc.gov.uk for further information.

In what circumstances would the coroner become involved after a death?Doctors and registrars are obliged by law to refer some causes of death and types of death to the coroner before the registration can proceed. If the registrar has to refer to thecCoroner, they will explain the specific reasons to you and ensure that the coroner has your contact details. 

 I do not have a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, but I know the coroners have conducted a Post Mortem. Can I come in to register?You must wait for the coroner to confirm that the registration can take place before you attend the register office. It is advisable to contact us by emailing registrars@rbkc.gov.uk to check that the necessary paperwork has been received before booking an appointment. 

I have been told the coroners are opening an inquest into the death. This will take some time to be concluded. Is there any documentation that will be issued in the meantime to enable us to deal with the funeral arrangements and the estate?If the coroner decides to open an inquest into the death, they will provide some paperwork for you to arrange the funeral and to deal with the deceased’s estate.

The death certificate will not be available until the coroner has concluded the inquest. See the GOV.UK website for further information. 

Am I eligible for any benefits or assistance with the funeral costs?The registrar is not able to advise on benefits or assistance with funeral costs. Full details can be found on GOV.UK website.

Can you tell me where someone is buried?The register office does not retain any records of burials or cremations. If you are searching for a grave or cremation record, you should enquire with the cemeteries department of the local authority in which the cemetery is located or the parish in which the graveyard is situated.