Register a death

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What you need to do when someone dies

There are many decisions and arrangements to be made, and these decisions must be made at a time of great personal distress. This information is intended to help you by explaining some of the things you need to know.

Registering a death

A death must now be registered in person and the registration must take place in the district where the death occurred.

The Medical Examiner will independently scrutinise a death that occurs in the hospital and hospice, and in some cases the community. Their role is to liaise with the family about the cause of death and where necessary engage with the coroner if the doctor hasn’t already done so. The role of the Medical Examiner will become statutory in September 2024 when all deaths will be scrutinised before the registration.

Once scrutinised the doctor will email a copy of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to the Register Office. Upon receipt of the paperwork from the doctor, we will contact the next of kin to arrange an appointment.

If you are the next of kin and have not heard from us within 2 days of the date of death, please telephone us to check we have the paperwork and to schedule an appointment. If we have not received the paperwork you will need to contact the doctor directly to ask them to forward this.

A death must be registered within five days from the date it occurred. This period can be extended if the coroner is involved and in some other exceptional circumstances.

If the death occurred in the Wakefield district, you will be able to register in person at one of the offices shown below;

Wakefield Register Office                
Wakefield Town Hall       
Wood Street                                        
WF1 2HQ                            

Pontefract Registration Office
Town Hall
Bridge Street

If it is difficult for you to get to the Registration Office, you may visit your local Register Office and declare the necessary information. Please be mindful that registration by declaration will usually delay the issue of the document needed for the funeral arrangements. 

What happens if the death is referred to the coroner 

In some cases, a death will be referred to the Coroner for investigation. Once the Corners investigations are completed he/she will contact you and will provide written notification to the registrar for the registration to proceed.

Inquests – if an inquest is held the Coroner will inform the registrar once the inquest is over and the death will be registered. You do not need an appointment to register. If you wish to purchase death certificates you can order these online on our Ordering a certificate page here, or contact us by telephone.

View the Coroner's court diary here.

Who can register a death

The primary responsibility for registering a death rests with the closest relative by blood or marriage. If no relative is available to register, please contact us for advice.

The appointment 

When we contact you we will arrange an appointment for you to attend either the Wakefield or Pontefract office.  The appointment will be confirmed by email.  It is important that you arrive on time for your appointment, or we may not be able to see you.  The appointment will last approximately 30 minutes.

The registrar will require certain information from you to register the death, this can be found here.

You can also find an accessible ODT version of this document here.

Documents relating to the deceased that may be helpful but are not essential at the point of registration are;

  • Passport and/ or Birth Certificate

  • Proof of Address i.e. utility bill

  • Deed Poll (if applicable)

  • NHS Medical Card

  • Marriage and /or Civil Partnership Certificates – including any from previous relationships which are available

What documents you will receive from the registrar

After the information has been recorded the registrar will issue the necessary forms and certificates.   Death certificates can be purchased at a statutory fee of £12.50 each and we would ask for payment to be made by debit or credit card.

The Form 9 (green form) - the forms required to proceed with the funeral arrangements will be sent electronically to the relevant council's Bereavement Services Team.

Tell us Once 

Tell Us Once is a free local and central government bereavement notification service. Tell us Once will contact government and local council services on your behalf, following a death registration. This short information video provides further information.

At the end of your appointment the registrar will issue you with a unique reference number so you can use the service online or by phone.
For more information visit the GOV.UK advice page here.

Life Ledger

Life Ledger is a free, easy-to-use service that allows families to inform companies such as banks, insurance, gas, water, telecoms, and social media, connected to the deceased, from one place. Please visit their website for more information.

Correct a death registration

If you notice a mistake in the registration after the appointment you can apply for a correction.  In some cases, the correction will need approval from the General Register Office before the Registrar can change it.

You need to:

  • Contact us to discuss the type of correction needed and how to make the application
  • Complete an application form stating what the error is and how it was made. Documentary evidence showing the correct information will need to be produced in order for the correction to be authorised and you will need to return any certificates you previously purchased for destruction

Visit the GOV.UK Application form to correct details on a death registration page here.

It costs £83 or £99 to apply for a correction. If you wish to purchase a copy of the certificate after correction it costs £12.50 per copy.

Baby loss certificate

If you are a parent who experiences a loss of pregnancy before 24 weeks you are able to get certificate in memory of your baby. Please visit to request a certificate.

Register a Stillbirth 

When a child is stillborn, a doctor or midwife will issue a medical certificate of stillbirth.  A stillbirth must be registered within 42 days, in the district in which it takes place.

Upon receipt of the paperwork from the Doctor, we will contact you to arrange an appointment.  If you have not heard from us within 2 days of the date your baby was born please telephone 0345 4 852 888 to check we have the paperwork and to schedule an appointment. 

Who can register a stillbirth?

Parents married to each other

If the parents of the child were married to each other at the time of the stillbirth (or conception), either the mother or the father may register.

Parents not married to each other

If the parents were not married to each other at the time of the stillbirth (or conception) information about the father may be entered in the register in the following circumstances:

  • Where the father is unable to attend the appointment with the mother, the father makes a statutory declaration acknowledging his paternity which the mother must provide to the registrar (please contact us for the relevant form)
  • Where the mother is unable to attend the appointment with the father the mother makes a statutory declaration acknowledging the father's paternity which the father must produce to the registrar (please contact us for the relevant form)

If the parents of the child are unable to register the stillbirth please contact the register office for advice.

The appointment

You will be asked to confirm the following information during your appointment:

  • Details of when and where the stillbirth occurred
  • The child's full name (if you wish to name the child)

For the mother:

  • Forename(s) and surname
  • Maiden surname of the mother is, or has been married
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation at the time of the stillbirth or, if not employed at the time, the last occupation
  • Usual address
  • Date of marriage, if married to the baby's father at the time of the stillbirth.

For the father (where this information is to be entered in the register):

  • Forename(s) and surname
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation at the time of the stillbirth, or if not employed at that time, the last occupation

What documents will you receive from the registrar?

  • Certificate of registration 
    • A certificate of registration will be issued, free of charge, to the person who registers the stillbirth.
  • Certificate for burial or cremation 
    • The registrar will issue a certificate for the burial or cremation of the stillborn child.  The certificate is normally passed to the funeral director who is making the arrangements.  
    • A funeral cannot take place until this certificate is given to the burial authority or the crematorium.  If there is a delay to the registration, it is possible for a certificate for the burial to be issued before registration provided the stillbirth does not need to be reported to the Coroner.  A certificate for cremation cannot be issued before the registration.

How can I get help and support with bereavement?

You may find it helpful to seek help and support from your GP, community midwife or health visitor.

Support groups can also help if you have had a stillbirth.

The Stillbirth and neonatal death society (SANDS) provides support for anyone affected by the death of a baby. The charity runs a helpline, provides information and support literature and funds research into the causes of stillbirth.

Tel: 020 74365881

Emergency out-of-hours service

A service is available for anyone who needs to make urgent burial arrangements or who requires documentation to remove a body from England.

This service is available between 9am and 10am each Sunday and Bank Holiday and can be accessed by contacting Wakefield Council Contact Centre on 0845 8 506 506.   Helpful information is provided in our leaflet 'Guidance for Bereaved Families' (see 'Related documents').

Contact Us

Wakefield Register Office Wakefield Town Hall Wood Street Wakefield WF1 2HQ

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