Coroner’s investigation information for families about what to expect and to do next

Note: Please don't make any arrangements for the funeral until we've been in touch with you. We may need to make a variety of arrangements before your loved one's body can be released to you for a funeral. If you book a funeral before speaking to the coroner's office, it may be delayed because these arrangements have not been completed

For information on the steps involved in a coroner investigation please see our what happens next section.

Registering a death

A death cannot be registered until the coroner has taken all necessary action regarding the situation. You will be assigned a named coroner's officer who will keep you updated on how the coroner is progressing in your case. Note: Usually a death must be registered within 5 days of the event, but this rule is void when a coroner's investigation must be performed.

Getting a temporary death certificate

However, if the coroner decides that more work is needed for this investigation, for example if they need to perform an inquest, you can be provided with a temporary death certificate until the investigation is complete. You can use this temporary death certificate to deal with the deceased's affairs such as bank accounts, HMRC etc.

Tell Us Once is a great service which notifies all the organizations listed below in one go if the deceased lived in the County of Surrey or in a participating council area:

  • Local Councils
  • Identity and Passport Service
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Ministry of Defence, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency
  • HM Revenue and Customs

Getting updates on the case

Your coroner's officer will update you on the progress of the case unless you have asked not to be contacted.
Please be aware that we need a single designated point of contact. You should decide amongst your family members who the single point of contact should be and let us know about them. Outside of truly exceptional circumstances, we will only keep in touch with this person.

If the coroner decides to hold an inquest, you can find out about upcoming hearings on our inquest page, which is regularly updated. For further guidance on any other issues regarding the case, you can get in touch with your coroner's officer.

For information on how we handle your data, please see the coroner's office privacy policy.