Registering a death
When someone dies, their death must be registered, and we will offer you guidance and help you need with this. This is the only thing we cannot, by law, do on your behalf. Please ask us if you are at all unsure.
Unless the registrar says that the period may be extended, deaths should be registered within five days, and an appointment needs to be made with the Registrar of Deaths in the district in which the death occurred.
The process of registering a death begins with the doctor on call or your own family doctor who will issue a death certificate to be passed on to the registrar. When a death occurs in hospital the Bereavement Office will be contacted, and they will help you with the necessary formalities which take place there. Once a death certificate has been issued you will need to take this to the registrar.
You can make an appointment to register a death in Cornwall by telephoning 0300 1234 181. More information can be found on Cornwall Council's website, including the Tell Us Once service that they can offer. The Registration Service can, with your permission, contact to the Department for Work and Pensions and they will tell other government departments and local council services.
Registering a death by declaration
If you are unable to visit the Register Office in the district where your loved one died, you can visit any Register Office and make a declaration of death. The details are then forwarded to the correct registrar for registration. Postage of the documents means that the registration process takes a few extra days, so do allow for this when making arrangements for the funeral.
It is usual for a relative to register the death, but if this is not possible it can be registered by someone present at the death, a senior administrator of the establishment in which the death occurred, or the person instructing the funeral director.
We will be happy to guide you through the process, and make sure that you have all the information to hand that the registrar will require.
Once a death has been registered, the Registrar will post you two certificates. The Certificate for Burial or Cremation known as the 'Green Form', you will need to take this to the funeral director, so that the funeral can take place. Sometimes this is issued by the Coroner. The other is the Certificate of Registration of Death, Form BD8/344. This is for the Social Security purposes. Please read the back of the form in your own time, and if any of the information applies, complete it and return it to your local Social Security Office.
A Standard Death Certificate is a certified copy of the entry in the death register, and the Registrar will be able to advise you as to how many you may need. There is a small fee for each certificate, which may be required by banks, building societies, solicitors, and for pension or insurance claims claims. You may wish to have several copies of the standard death certificate at the time of registering as the price increases if you need one at a later date.
Sometimes the death will have to be referred to H M Coroner by the Doctor or by the Registrar. The Coroner may do one of three things. They may decide no action is necessary and inform the Registrar accordingly, or they may decide to hold a post – mortem examination. In this case a Form 100 will be issued by the Coroner to be used instead of the medical certificate. The Coroner may decide to hold an inquest, and in these circumstances the Coroners Officer or Registrar will advise on what to do.
Leaflets relating to benefits are also available from the Registrar, and they are always pleased to help with any questions you might have.