Information about registering a death is given below. If there's anything you're unsure of, please call the Register Office on 01642 729004 and our experienced staff will advise you.
When to register a death
Legally, the death must be registered within five days of it occurring. You can register the death as soon as you've obtained either a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death from the hospital or doctor, or a Form 100 from the coroner's office.
The five day period may be extended in certain circumstances, for example when the coroner has been consulted and/or an inquest is to be held. In this case, registration of the death will only occur once an inquest has been concluded and the coroner has given their permission. If you're unsure about the time limits, or think you may not be able to register the death within five days, please call the Register Office on 01642 729004.
Where to register a death
A formal record of a death must be made in the district where it took place. If the death occurred at an address located within Middlesbrough then the formal record must be made with Middlesbrough Register Office.
In most cases, you'll register the death at the Register Office in the district where the death took place. Registration of a death must be done in person.
If you register a death by declaration, any death certificates you require, and the authority to allow the funeral director to proceed with arrangements, will be sent to you by post. If you need copies of the death certificate, please provide the appropriate payment. Registering a death by declaration and receiving certificates in the post will delay the arrangements you're making for the funeral. If you choose to use this service please telephone Middlesbrough Register Office in advance of your attendance.
If you need any copies of death certificates in the future, they will only be available from the office where the death is registered (i.e. Middlesbrough) and not where the death declaration was made.
Death at James Cook University Hospital
James Cook University Hospital has a dedicated bereavement service. A member of the service will contact you, usually the next working day following the death, and make arrangements for you to register the death at the hospital.
Who can register a death
The death must be registered by a 'qualified informant'. That 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
If English isn't your first language and you'd like someone to help you with the registration, you can ask a relative or friend to accompany you to the Register Office. However, the death can't be registered by a friend on your behalf.
In certain circumstances, someone else may qualify to register the death, but this is rare. If you think this may be the case, please contact the Register Office on 01642 729004 for advice.
Please note, an executor isn't automatically entitled to register a death unless they're also arranging the funeral.
How to register a death
Before you book an appointment to register a death
It's essential that you do not book an appointment to register a death until:
- the doctor or hospital has confirmed to you that they've emailed the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to the Register Office
- the coroner's office has confirmed to you that the coroner's paperwork has been sent to the Register Office
The death cannot be registered without this documentation.
About the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death
The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, issued by the doctor, should be emailed directly by the doctors surgery to the register office. If the deceased died at James Cook University Hospital, staff at the hospital's bereavement service will do this for you.
We cannot accept a copy of this document from anyone other than the doctor or surgery which issued it. If you've been given the original paper copy of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death by the doctor, please contact us on 01642 729004.
Registering a death
Registering a death is a two-step process.
You (the informant) must provide the necessary information to the Registrar by a telephone appointment. Appointments can be made by calling 01642 729004.
We'll make an appointment for you to come to the Register Office in person and sign the legal documents. We'll give you the necessary paperwork, including death certificates and the Tell Us Once confirmation. We'll issue the disposal document (called the 'green form 9') and send it electronically to the funeral director and place of burial or cremation.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 allowed deaths to be registered by phone, but this legislation has now ended, so it is no longer possible to register a death by phone.
To make sure deaths are registered in a timely way, you'll be offered the first available appointment slot.
What you'll need to provide
If the deceased person's NHS medical card is available, you should also provide this. Additionally, it's useful to have their passport, birth certificate, and (if applicable) marriage certificate, but these documents aren't essential if you're able to give the Registrar the correct information.
The Registrar will also need to know the following:
- 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 country if born in the UK; country if born overseas)
- 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're legally required to give)
When you attend your appointment, it's important to very carefully check the details on the death entry that the registrar prepares as errors are sometimes difficult to correct. You may be charged a fee if you apply to correct an entry at a later date. Please contact the Register Office for further information.
At the end of your appointment you'll be able to buy copies of the register entry in the form of a death certificate. These cost £11 each. Payment can be made by credit or debit card at the time of the appointment, or you can order certificates online at a later date.
What happens after registering a death
Documents you'll get
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 gives permission for the body to be buried or for an application for cremation to be made. It should be given to the funeral directors so that a funeral can be held. In some circumstances, rather than a Certificate for Burial or Cremation, you may be given one of the following forms by the coroner:
i) an Order for Burial (Form 101)
ii) a Certificate for Cremation (Form E)
Getting a death certificate
A death certificate is a certified copy of the entry in the Register of Deaths. The Registrar can issue copies of this at a cost of £11, which is a statutory fee.
Please remember that if you chose to go to another register office and make a death declaration, and you wish to purchase certificates, you'll need to provide the appropriate payment. The certificates will then be posted to you by Middlesbrough Register Office, once the death has been registered here.
You may need a death certificate for the will, and for any pension claims, insurance policies, bank accounts, and premium bonds. It's easier to purchase these copies when you visit the Registrar. If the Registrar isn't able to issue all the certificates you need straight away, they can be posted to you by first class post later that day.
If you choose to declare a death at another register office, you can leave a cheque (payable to Middlesbrough Council) with the Registrar, who will include it with documents sent to Middlesbrough Register Office.
Tell Us Once
When someone dies there are lots of things that need to be done, at a time when you feel least like doing them. The Tell Us Once service can be used to contact a number of organisations at the same time to inform them of the death. You'll be offered this service when you contact the Register Office to register a death.