Registering a death during the Covid-19 pandemic

Registering a death during the Covid-19 pandemic

Registering a death during the Covid-19 pandemic

Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, when a loved one passed away, deaths had to be registered in person at the Register Office, where the register would be signed in the presence of the registrar. However, with the current social distancing measures in place, face-to-face registration is no longer possible.

How can you register a death whilst in lockdown?

On 26March 2020 the Government brought The Coronavirus Act 2020 into force. This Act brought in a remote registration system that is now live, which allows registrars to take remote registration of a loved ones death by telephone or other electronic means.

Who can register a death?

The person registering the death is often referred to as the informant. This can be:

  • A relative e.g. husband/wife or brother/sister
  • A person who was present at the death
  • The occupier of the premises where the death occurred if he/she knew about it
  • The person arranging the funeral
  • The Coronavirus Act 2020 has enabled funeral directors to register a death

What does the new remote registration involve?

The registration must still take place within the district where the death occurred and must be completed within 5 days of death, unless the death has been referred to the coroner, in which case it must be registered after the coroner concludes their investigation.

The process will vary depending on the Register Office, however, usually you will be required to complete an online pre-registration form which will be available on the website of the local authority where the death took place. Once the Register Office has received this form, and the electronic medical cause of death certificate from the doctors, they will contact the informant by telephone in order to confirm all of the details, including: date of death, the deceased’s full name, date of birth and the informant’s information etc. The informant will then be asked to certify all of the information over the telephone before a death certificate can be produced.

Once the formal registration has been completed, the informant will be given the opportunity of purchasing a certified copy of the death certificate for £11. A scanned copy of the death certificate will also be sent to the funeral director so they can proceed with funeral arrangements.

The informant will also receive the Tell Us Once reference from the registrar, which allows them to notify various government institutions of their loved ones death (such as the DWP or DVLA).

How Blaser Mills Law can help?

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard enough in normal circumstances, but in the current crisis where the majority of the country is in lock down or in self-isolation, it can feel even more distressing. Our specialist lawyers are here to assist you during this difficult and unprecedented time by providing you with all the information you need on the probate process during the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you would like further information on the contents of this article, or on probate in general, please contact the Wills, Trusts and Probate team on 01494 781 362 or email Carol Dalziel at