When a relative dies it is a time of high emotion and great sadness. There are, unfortunately, important decisions and arrangements to be made soon after.
The following Age Space guide aims to help you through the things you need to do if your relative has died in Surrey as easily as possible, starting with getting a medical certificate.
Please also visit our page on Bereavement Support Services in Surrey, if you would like to find support during this difficult time.
Obtaining a Medical Certificate of Death in Surrey
The medical certificate of death is a document issued after someone has died. It details the cause of death and you will need it in order to register the death. After registering the death, you will be able to arrange the funeral and deal with all the administration of someone’s affairs.
If the death takes place at home, you should contact a doctor, who will be able to talk you through what happens next and provide you with a medical certificate stating the cause of death, as well as a separate document detailing who is eligible to register the death. If the death takes place in a nursing home or other care facility, it is likely that the doctor will have already been called.
In rare cases when the cause of death is unknown, the doctor will send a report of the death to the Surrey coroner’s office who will decide whether or not there will be an inquest. The coroner’s office will be able to give you instructions regarding registering the death if this is the case.
- Address: HM Coroner's Court, Station Approach, Woking, GU22 7AP
- Telephone: 01483 404530
Registering a Death in Surrey
After you have obtained a medical certificate, you will have to make an appointment to register the death. Unless the death has been referred to the coroner, it is a legal requirement to register the death within five days. This process is completely free.
The doctor who issued the medical certificate of death will send an electronic copy to the Register Office. To give the doctor time to send this copy, it is recommended that you book an appointment for the next working day.
If the death was referred to a Coroner, they will give you a relevant reference number to use when booking an appointment.
Please note: only a relative of the deceased or someone present at the death will be permitted to register the death.
What the Registrar needs to know
The registrar will ask you the following information on the telephone, so make sure you have it to hand.
- Date of Death
- Place of Death
- Name and surname of the deceased
- Sex: Male or Female
- Maiden surname of woman who has been married or civil partnership
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Occupation (most recent occupation – please record if deceased was retired)
- Marital Status
- Spouse/Civil Partners Name and Surname
- Spouse/Civil Partners Occupation
- Usual Address
Their NHS Number can also be helpful but this is not a necessity.
What the Registrar will give you
The registrar will:
- Issue the Certificate for Burial or Cremation. This is also known as the Green Form. They will email it directly to the Funeral Director (unless the coroner has issued an Order for Burial or a Certificate for Cremation already).
- Register you for the Tell Us Once service and give you a reference number. This enables you to inform multiple local and central government departments of the death in one contact.
Tell Us Once
Tell Us Once is a service that lets you report a death to most government and local council organisations in one go. It also means you won’t have to send a copy of the death certificate in the post.
The Tell Us Once service notifies most organisations, however, Surrey County Council provide the following checklist of potential additional services, to help you remember any other smaller organisations.
Arranging a Funeral in Surrey
In most case, the funeral can only take place after the death is registered. Most people will enlist the support of a funeral director to take charge of the practical arrangements; meaning you can focus on the personal aspects.
It is recommended that you choose a funeral director who’s a member of either of the following organisations:
These organisations have codes of practice – they must give you a price list when asked. The Funeral Guide is a directory of funeral services in the UK. You can search by area and filter by cremation or burial.