Registering a death

Where possible, a death should be registered within 5 days in the district in which the death occurred. This is so that the necessary forms and certificates can be issued to allow you to arrange the funeral, and deal with the deceased’s estate.

Book an appointment to register a death

Who can register the death?

  • A relative of the deceased who was present at the death.
  • A relative of the deceased.

If there are no relatives available:

  • A person present at the death - this may be a friend, neighbour, nurse or partner who was with the deceased at the time of death.
  • The occupier of the premises where the death occurred. The informant must either be the Senior Resident Officer or Matron of the establishment where the death occurred.
  • The person who is making the funeral arrangements and signing the paperwork with the Funeral Director. This does not include the 'executor of the will'. People who fall into this category include solicitors, representatives from Social Services, or friends acting with the family's consent, who are unable to attend a register office within England or Wales to give the necessary information themselves. These people will be described as 'causing the body to be buried/cremated'.

If the death took place within the Borough

The death must be registered at Richmond Register Office. We will be able to issue certificates upon completion of the registration. We will also be able to provide further copy certificates at a later date, as the record of the death will remain at this office.

If the death took place outside the Borough

The death must be registered with the register office for that borough.

Alternatively you can ‘make a declaration’ at the Richmond Register Office. The Registrar taking the declaration will send it to the relevant register office, along with your payment for any certificates. Payment is posted so must be by cheque or postal order. Your certificates will be sent to you by post. This could take up to 10 days, and may delay the funeral arrangements.

Please note that if you chose to make a declaration, the death will not be registered at the office and we will not hold any records or be able to provide copy certificates, either at the time of taking the details or in the future.

If a Coroner is involved

If the doctor has referred the death to the Coroner, the Registrar will require written authorisation from the Coroner that no further investigations are necessary and the death can be registered. You will only be able to register the death once this paperwork has been received by the Registrar.

If the Coroner has been involved, you will not be able to use the online form to book your appointment as the Register Office need to confirm that the required paperwork has been received from the Coroner's Office. Please telephone us on 020 8891 7188.

The role of the Coroner

Registering a neonatal death

For babies who die after birth, even if they live for a very short time, both birth and death must be registered. Your doctor or midwife will issue a medical certificate of death, and the death should be registered within 5 days. You may also be able to register your baby’s birth during the same appointment.

Birth and death certificates, can be issued after the registration, together with paperwork to allow a funeral to take place.

Contact Registration Services for further advice and information.

Registering a stillbirth

There is a legal requirement to register a stillbirth, and your doctor or midwife will issue a medical certificate which must be taken to the Registrar. You can register up to 12 months after the date of the stillbirth. A certificate can be issued after the registration, together with paperwork to allow a funeral to take place. If you have given your baby a name, this can also be recorded in the register entry and on the certificate.

There is no legal requirement to register the birth or death of a baby stillborn before 24 weeks gestation. This is often referred to as a miscarriage. Parents who would like to hold a funeral for their baby will need a certificate or letter from the doctor or midwife to state that the baby showed no signs of life.

Contact Registration Services for further advice and information.

Updated: 22 June 2017