If the death was expected, as the deceased had been ill for some time, it would be normal to contact their Doctor who would then visit to certify that death had occurred and determine the cause of death. This may not happen immediately as the Doctor may be in his/ her surgery, or death may happen in the middle of the night, in which case you may decide to wait until morning before calling out the Doctor.
Later that day or the next, the Doctor will issue the relatives a form called the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. This contains a list of who can register the death, known as Informants, at the local Registry Office and what information the Registrar will require.
If you are uncertain whether someone is dead then call the Doctor or dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. If the cause of death cannot be determined then the Doctor will refer the death to The Coroner.
Once the Doctor or Hospital has issued the Medical Certificate, the Informant must register the death within 5 days at the Registry Office for the sub-
The Medical Certificate and the deceased’s Medical Card (if available) must be given to the Registrar.
The person registering the death will be asked for the following information about the deceased:
A Death Certificate can then be obtained on payment of the prescribed fee. This will be needed for obtaining Probate or Letters of Administration, closing bank accounts and making claims on insurance policies.
The Registrar will also issue a green Registrar’s Certificate for Burial or Cremation which will be needed by the Funeral Director, and a white Certificate of Registration of Death – Form 344/BD8 – which is for Social Security purposes to cancel the payment of pensions and allowances from public funds.
Without a Cause of Death the Registrar cannot allow the death to be registered.
When a cremation is chosen as the preferred type of funeral, the Funeral Director will arrange for the necessary forms to be completed. There are two which need the nearest relative’s signature.
The Application for Cremation is either signed by the nearest surviving relative or executor and requires personal information about the deceased and the applicant.
Cremated Remains Instruction form is also signed by the above and authorises whether the Cremated Remains should be placed in the Garden of Remembrance or removed from the Crematorium.
The following forms need to be completed by Doctors either at the Hospital or Hospice, or by local GP. This will be arranged by the Funeral Director and the appropriate fees paid.
Certificate of Medical Attendant signed by a Registered Medical Practitioner who attended the deceased during his/her last illness.
Confirmatory Medical Certificate signed by a different Registered Medical Practitioner of at least five years standing who is of no relation to the deceased nor a relative or partner of the Doctor signing the Certificate of Medical Attendant.
A body can normally be buried in a Local Authority or privately owned Cemetery (for example a Jewish Cemetery, or burial ground on a family estate) or in a Churchyard although most of these in urban areas are now full.
The family may already have a grave which can be re-opened, for example where a husband and wife wish to be buried together. Often a new grave is dug with space to allow for one, two or three further interments. This needs to be stipulated at the time of purchase. Alternatively the deceased can be buried in a Common grave.
All Local Authority and Commercially managed cemeteries require an Interment form signed by the nearest relative giving details about the deceased and of the grave to be dug. The Registrar’s Certificate for Burial or Coroner’s Order for Burial, must also be delivered to the relevant Authority. After burial a grave deed will be issued or in the case of re-opening an existing grave, amended and returned.