Register a death

The death of someone close to you can be a very upsetting time. Our registrars will deal with you sympathetically and professionally to make the registration process as smooth as possible.

What happens when someone dies

When someone dies the doctor who was treating them will email to The Register Office a medical certificate stating the cause of death. Sometimes if the death was sudden or the doctor treating the person who died is unavailable, the death will have to be reported to the coroner first, which may lead to a delay in registering the death.

Where to register a death

If the person died in the Bradford and Keighley Registration District you can register the death at City Hall, Bradford or Keighley Town Hall. You must make an appointment to register by using the link at the bottom of the page or telephoning 01274 432151.

When to register a death

Every death in England and Wales must be registered in the district where it happened within five days of death, unless the coroner has been involved. Then it may be longer before the death can be registered.

If you are the person registering the death you will be asked to give information to the registrar. We have listed the information which you will need to give below.

The registrar will record the information, given by you, on a computer before asking you to check and sign the printed register page.

Who can register a death?

By law one of these people must register a death:

  • a relative 
  • an adult present at the death 
  • the person making the arrangements with the funeral director 
  • a care home manager or hospital administrator.

In most cases it is a relative who registers the death. Only if there are no relatives would the registrar allow anyone else to register the death.

Which deaths need to be reported to the coroner?

Some deaths have to be reported to the coroner before they can be registered and before the document allowing the funeral to go ahead can be issued.

This may be for reasons such as:

  • there is no doctor who can issue a medical certificate of cause of death 
  • the cause of death is unknown 
  • the cause of death is believed to be unnatural or suspicious 
  • the death was during an operation 
  • the death is due to industrial disease or industrial poisoning.

The registrar cannot go ahead with the registration until the coroner has decided whether to investigate the death. In the majority of cases no further investigation is necessary and the registration can be completed straightaway.

Information the registrar will ask you about the person who died

  • date and place of death 
  • their name and surname 
  • their usual address 
  • maiden surname if they were a woman who had been married or in a registered civil partnership 
  • date and place of birth 
  • occupation 
  • name and occupation of spouse if they were married, widowed or in a registered civil partnership 
  • date of birth of the surviving widow, widower or civil partner 
  • did they have a pension or allowance from public funds
  • their NHS number, if you have it.

It is most important that the information recorded in the death register is correct. A mistake can easily be put right during the registration, but afterwards it will be much more difficult and will incur a fee.

If you have difficulty in communicating in English you may have someone else with you to act as interpreter.

What certificates will be issued?

  • Death certificate - when you register a death you can buy one or more death certificates then or at any time afterwards. Each certificate costs £11.
  • Certificate for the burial or cremation - the registrar will also issue a certificate for the burial or cremation of the body. You should give this to the funeral director or person who is making the arrangements. A funeral cannot proceed until this certificate is given to the burial authority or the crematorium. 
  • Tell Us Once – is a government service which allow you to notify several government departments of a death. Further information can be found on this YouTube video about Tell Us Once.

If the death has been reported to the coroner they may be able to give you a certificate for burial or cremation before the death is registered with us.

Moving a body out of England and Wales

If a body is to be taken out of England and Wales please contact us for further advice.

Further information about registering a death

If you would like further information about registering a death or would like to ask us any questions please telephone us on 01274 432151. We will be pleased to help.

Body and organ donation

If the person who has died wanted to donate organs or their body to medical science, tell the doctor, hospital or care home staff as soon as possible. Each hospital and care home will have their own policies for dealing with this.

More information can be found on the Human Tissue Authority website.

On-call services

An on-call service is available between 9am and 11am on Sundays and Public Holidays for families wishing to arrange a burial locally on the same day or wishing to apply to the Coroner for an Out of England Order.

A registrar can be contacted on:

  • 01274 432149

Make an appointment online

Make an appointment to register a death