Register a death

Registering a death

Death should be registered in the district in which it takes place within five days of the date of death. Upon receipt of all required information pertaining to the deceased person a death certificate is issued by the registrar.

What to do

Registration is a legal process so it is important you understand what is required. If you have any difficulties with English please let us know so we can arrange an interpreter for you. If you know someone who is willing to interpret for you please bring them with you.

How quickly should a death be registered?

You should register a death within five days. In some cases, however, a death may be reported to the coroner and registration may be delayed. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Who can register the death?

Most deaths take place in a house or an institution (like a hospital) and the law says under these circumstances the people who can register a death are:

  • a relative of the deceased
  • a person who was present at the death
  • the occupier of the house or institution where the death took place, if there is no known relative able to register
  • the person who is arranging the funeral.

Where can I register the death?

You should register the death in the registration district where it took place. However, if it’s difficult for you to get there, please contact the Register Office for advice.

What information will the registrar require?

  • Date and place of death
  • Full name of the person who has died
  • For women, their maiden name if married
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation of the person. For a married woman, we also need the full name and occupation of her husband
  • Usual address
  • Whether the person was receiving a public funded pension
  • If married, the date of birth of the spouse
  • If available, the National Health Service number or NHS card

It is important that you check the register very carefully before signing it. It is a legal record, which is very difficult to correct at a later date.

What documents will the registrar give me?

You will be given a special form to take to the undertaker. In some cases this may be issued by the Coroner. The Registrar will also issue a form for the Department of Works and Pensions. This should be filled in and sent, or taken, to the nearest Job Centre if applicable.

Fees

A list of all our fees can be found on the Register Office fees page.

Emergency burial certificates

You can get Emergency Burial certificates on Saturdays between 9am and 12pm. Please contact the Registrar first on register.office@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

On Saturday afternoons there is a standby service for Emergency Burial Certificates only between 12pm and 4pm. 

On Sundays and Bank Holidays there is a standby service for Emergency Burial Certificates only between 9am and 4pm. You can contact a registrar on 07946 390 834.

Tell us once

A new service in Tower Hamlets means that you no longer have to notify a variety of council and government departments, instead you just tell the council's Registrar while they are registering the death. You can use the Tell Us Once service at the Register Office or complete it by phone or internet afterwards.

The Registrar will then pass the right information to the relevant council departments and other public sector service providers, such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the Identity and Passport Service and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

The new service can be accessed by anyone registering a death in Tower Hamlets at the Register Office, Bromley Public Hall, Bow Road, or via phone afterwards.

In order to get the most out of the service, the Registrar will need the deceased person's National Insurance number, details of any benefits they received, and their driving licence and passport numbers. 

Read the Tell us once bereavement leaflet for more information.