What to do after a death

Coronavirus: Important information

Death registrations will continue to be carried out by telephone appointment. If the death occurred in Surrey you can register the death over the telephone by making a death registration appointment.

Unless the death has been referred to the coroner, it is a legal requirement to register the death within five days.

Registration system: Changes implemented to the Government registration system used to register births, deaths, marriage and civil partnerships has introduced system instability. This means that your appointment may take longer than usual or the registrar may need to complete a manual registration; unfortunately in some cases we may be unable to issue a certificate at the time of registration. You may also have to wait longer than usual for an appointment due to appointments having to be extended to cope with the system instability.
We are sorry for any inconvenience or distress that this may cause, the General Register Office is currently unable to provide a timescale for when the system will be restored to a reliable and stable state.

The Surrey Registration Service realises the difficulties you face at this time and we endeavour to provide a sympathetic, helpful and considerate service to you. Our information is intended to offer you help and guidance about some of the things that you need to do from the moment a bereavement occurs, as well as providing details of groups and contacts that may assist you over the next few days and weeks.

Death registration appointment

You will need to make an appointment to register a death.

Bereavement guide and support

When someone dies, there are many decisions and arrangements to be made. Unfortunately these decisions and arrangements are required at a time of great personal distress and sadness.

Our Bereavement Guide offers you help and guidance about some of the things that you need to do from the moment a bereavement occurs, as well as providing details of groups and contacts that may assist you over the next few days and weeks. The guide is available at the time of registration or you can view a copy of the Bereavement Guide online.

Please note that the information included in this guide is general guidance only and should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law. This publication will be in use from 2020 to 2021 and the information included was correct at the time of going to press.

This NHS Bereavement support webpage lists organisations that offer help and advice to those who are dealing with bereavement.

Funeral arrangements

After registering the death, you are able to organise the funeral.

Probate

You may have to apply for probate to manage the deceased's estate (money, property and possessions).

Corresponding with organisations

When you manage the affairs of someone who has died, you may need to correspond with a lot of organisations.

  • Our 'Letting organisations know' checklist contains information about the usual organisations and departments that need to be informed following a person's death. Whilst the list is not exhaustive, we hope that we have included the most likely services.
  • Our Tell Us Once service will assist you with notifying many of the departments and services on our list so you will not need to contact them again. You will be registered for this service at you appointment by our Registrar.

Support for unpaid carers

Caring to the End offers practical, legal and financial information and advice on coping with grief and where to go for support after caring for a loved one at the end of life. The website also offers tailored advice and guidance for a range of unpaid carers including parent carers and young carers.


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