Bideford & Ilfracombe Funeral Directors

Our Office

What You Need To Do in Times of Bereavement

When death occurs at home:

  • Inform the Doctor as soon as possible that the death has occurred. He/she may write out a Medical Certificate of Death when they visit the house, or may request you attend the surgery for this purpose.
  • When death occurs in hospital - You will need to apply to the hospital for the Medical Certificate of Death and not your family doctor.
  • The Coroner - In cases where death has been reported to the Coroner, the procedure is somewhat different. The Coroner and officers are working in your interest to determine a cause of death and therefore the Doctor will not issue a Medical Certificate of Death. The Coroner's report will be sent to the Registrar's Office in the district where the death occurred, after contact has been made with the Coroner's office.

How to register a death

You need to make an appointment to register a death. Please phone 0345 155 1002 in order to do so.

Who can register a death?

It is preferable for a relative or executor of the deceased to register the death. If a relative or executor is not available then the following people can register the death:

  • Someone present at the death
  • The occupier of the house where the death occurred or an administrator of the hospital
  • The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors

Where can I register a death?

You can register the death at the registration office which is most convenient for you, however it is recommended that the death is registered in the district in which it took place. There are 10 registration offices in the Devon area. Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council have their own responsibility for registration services.

What will happen when I register a death?

You must take the Medical Certificate of Death showing the cause of death (signed by a doctor) with you. You should also take some form of identification for yourself (suggested documents: passport, council tax bill, driving licence, birth certificate, utility bill).

If available, then you should also take the deceased's NHS medical card, birth certificate and marriage or civil partnership certificate.

You will also need to tell the registrar:

  • Date and place of death
  • Name and surname of the deceased including any previous names, for example, maiden name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation
  • Name and occupation of husband, where the deceased was a married woman or widow
  • Usual address
  • Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds
  • If the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower

What documents will I be given?

  • A certificate for burial or cremation (Green Form). This will need to be given to the funeral director.
  • A certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8). This form may need to be filled out if the person was getting a State Pension or any other benefits.

Death certificates may be purchased from the registrar on the day of registration at a cost. It is likely that you will need certificates when it comes to sorting out the person's affairs.

Tell us Once

The Tell Us Once service allows you to report the death once, it means we can tell other government organisations on your behalf. At the end of your appointment you will have the opportunity to provide the registrar with information that they can use to inform these other organisations.

You must be able to provide the deceased's National Insurance Number and take as many of the following documents as possible to your appointment:

  • Passport
  • Driving Licence
  • Blue Badge
  • National Bus Pass

Deaths reported to a Coroner

A small number of deaths have to be reported to the Coroner before they may be registered and before documentation allowing the funeral to go ahead can be issued. In the following circumstances the Registrar will report the death to the Coroner if it has not already happened:

  • Where the cause of death is unknown
  • Where there is no Doctor who can issue a medical certificate of cause of death
  • Where the deceased was not seen by the Doctor issuing the medical certificate after death, nor within 14 days before death
  • Where the death occurred during an operation or before recovery from an anaesthetic
  • Where the cause of death is believed to be unnatural or suspicious
  • Where the death is due to industrial disease or industrial poisoning

Once a death has been reported to the Coroner, the Registrar is unable to go ahead with the registration until

the Coroner has decided whether any further investigation into the death is necessary.

Contact Details

1 Abbotsham Road
EX39 3AF
20-21 St Brannocks Road
EX34 8EQ
01237 477222/ 01271 865222

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