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Register a death

What you need to do when someone dies.

There is a legal requirement for deaths to be registered within five days, unless an investigation into the death takes place, which may take longer.

The death must be registered over the telephone with the register office in the borough where the death took place. If the person has died outside of Waltham Forest, you can find out how to register using the website.

If you are registering a death, please accept our sincerest condolences and read the below information thoroughly.

Who can register a death

relative should register the death.

If a relative cannot register the death, someone else can do it if they:

  • were there at the time of death, or
  • are an occupier of the premises where the death occurred, or
  • are an administrator from the hospital (if the person died in hospital), or
  • are in charge of making funeral arrangements

Death registration process

After viewing the body, either Whipps Cross Hospital, a GP, or a care home (in some instances a Coroner or police) will send the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) to us. We will then call you within five days to register the death.

The death registration will be completed over the phone.

Once the call is finished, we will administer a death certificate and post it to you in the mail. We will also scan and email a copy of the green certificate to the family’s chosen funeral director or informant for burial or cremation.

For questions or issues, you can call 0208 496 3000 and a member of the team will assist you.

Documents required for the registration phone call

During the phone call, the registrar will ask for a copy of the MCCD. This can be scanned or photographed (e.g., with a mobile) and emailed to The registrar will ask if you have the deceased’s:

  • Birth certificate or passport
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • Full name at the time of death
  • Any names previously used, e.g. maiden name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Last address
  • Occupation and if retired or not
  • Full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving or late spouse or civil partner
  • Information if they received a State Pension or any other benefits

If English is not your first language and help is needed, you should use an interpreter to translate the phone call. Errors that are identified after the registration is complete cannot be easily corrected.

Certificate costs

Registering a death is free. All death certificates (short and long form) are £11 each.

You can purchase a short death certificate at the time of the registration phone call.

You are advised to purchase a minimum of three certificates to be used for official purposes, and you can buy extra copies during your registration phone call if needed.

The certificate(s) will then be posted to your home.

When you make your booking, you'll be asked for payment by debit or credit card. We do not accept cash.

Notifying government agencies after registering a death (Tell Us Once)

Tell Us Once is a free service offered by HM Government 

When someone has died, there are lots of things that need to be done, at a time when you probably least feel like doing them. 

Tell Us Once is voluntary to use and very helpful. It enables you to report a death only once, telling central and local government services securely and confidentially without you having to inform them individually.

A short information video explaining the Tell Us Once service can be viewed via YouTube.

Many services can be notified and these include:

  • the local council: to update services such as Council Housing, Housing Benefit, Council Tax, Blue Badge and remove the person from the Electoral Register
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC): to deal with personal tax and to update regarding Child Benefit and Tax Credits claims (contact HMRC separately for business taxes, like VAT)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): to update benefits information for example: State Pension, Universal Credit 
  • Passport Office: to cancel a British passport
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA): to cancel a driving licence and to remove registered keeper details, possibly for up to five vehicles
  • Public Sector or Armed Forces Pension Schemes: to update pension records

How do I use the service?

After you have registered the death with the Registrar, the Registrar may complete the Tell Us Once service with you at the same time. 

Otherwise, the Registrar will provide you with a unique Tell Us Once reference number, which will enable you to access the service Online via GOV.UK

If you have been issued with a Coroners Fact of Death (Interim Death Certificate) you may still be able to use the service and the Registrar will advise you how to do so. 

It will help you to have all the relevant information listed below about the person before using Tell Us Once:                                                                                                        

  • date of birth
  • address of the deceased
  • National Insurance number
  • driving licence number
  • vehicle registration number
  • passport number

You will also need: 

  • details of any benefits or entitlements they were receiving, for example State Pension, Universal Credit
  • details of any local council services they were receiving, for example Adult Social Services, Blue Badge, travel pass
  • the name and address of their next of kin
  • the name and address of any surviving spouse or civil partner
  • the name, address and contact details of the person or company dealing with their estate (property, belongings and money), known as their ‘executor’ or ‘administrator’
  • details of any public sector or armed forces pension schemes they were getting or paying into

Please note

  • Permission is required from the next of kin, the executor, the administrator and anyone who was claiming benefits or entitlements jointly with the person who died, before you give their details.
  • There is no need to follow-up contact after you have used Tell Us Once unless you don’t receive a confirmation from the relevant department after a reasonable period of time, in most cases a calendar month.
  • Once the various agencies informed by Tell Us Once have received notification of the death, they will make any further contact if necessary with the bereaved family. 
  • Tell Us Once is not a claim to benefit, therefore please contact GOV.UK or the relevant department for advice. 
  • Tell Us Once does not notify any commercial organisations of the death and cannot arrange for redirection of post. 

Further information

For all our services, please visit our Register Office webpage.

If you need a copy of a death certificate, read our copy certificate information for costs and how to apply.

To make a general enquiry to the Register Office, this can be done through My Account.