May 22, 2020

How Do I Obtain A Death Certificate?

This post was written by: Jade Gani

Losing someone you love is always a difficult and upsetting experience, which often isn’t made any easier with the red-tape involved. Sometimes when a death is sudden or unexpected it can be especially difficult to process your new reality. You may feel lost, angry, or confused on top of your deep sense of loss. Surround yourself with people who love and care for you, share memories, and focus on your grief. If you are struggling with your grief then please know there are people who can help.

Registering the Death:

In order to obtain the Death Certificate a family member will need to register the death with the local Registrars’ Office that serves the locality of where the death took place. This is the same Registrars’ Office that records births and marriages. You can find your local Registrars’ Office by either searching online or contacting your local Council offices.

Make Sure You:-

  1. Know the full name at the time of death
  2. Know any names previously used, e.g. a maiden name
  3. Know the person’s date and place of birth
  4. Know their last address
  5. Know their occupation
  6. Know the full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner
  7. Know whether they were getting a State
  8. Pension or any other benefits.
  9. You should also take supporting documents that show your name and address (e.g. a utility bill) but you can still register a death without them.

Coroner’s Office:

If your loved one passed away in hospital, under unusual circumstances or for unknown reasons, it is quite likely that the Coroner’s Office will undertake a post-mortem. This is to establish the most likely cause of death and the body cannot be released to you until they have completed the post-mortem.

If a clear cause of death can be established at the post-mortem, then the Coroner’s Office usually releases the body, conclude their findings and issue the Death Certificate. However, it is sometimes necessary for the Coroner’s Office to conduct a further investigation to ascertain the true cause of death, so they might only provide an Interim Death Certificate. They may release the body whilst they undertake further investigations which may culminate in an official inquest – a bit like a trial where all the evidence is heard. You can attend the inquest and ask certain, relevant questions.

If you think someone is at fault for the death, you may wish to take a legal representative with you to the inquest. You should also note that, if you dispute the findings of an inquest and want a second post-mortem, this will not be possible if you have cremated the body.

This process can be extremely upsetting as well as confusing. It can help to know that you are able to contact the local Coroner’s Office with any of your queries or concerns. You are also welcome to contact our dedicated Wills & Probate team who can answer any of your immediate questions on 01753 486777