Coping with your Loss - Autumn/Winter 2019

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COPING WITH YOUR LOSS

Why Registering a Death is so important T he last thing on your mind after losing a loved one is the paperwork involved but failing to register a death not only risks putting funeral arrangements on hold but also risks breaking the law. You normally can’t wait longer than five days to register a death, which includes weekends and bank holidays. But this can be extended by a further nine days if you provide the registrar with written confirmation that a Medical Certificate of Death has been issued.

Where do you register a death? The Register Office for the New Forest area is located at the Ringwood Gateway in the The Furlong, Ringwood. The Register office comes under the jurisdiction of Hampshire County Council and operates an appointment system. For Christchurch it is located at the Civic Offices, Bridge Street and at the Town Hall in Bourne Avenue, Bournemouth. All operate on appointments system. However, any register office in the country can be used when looking where to register a death. But choosing one too far from the loved one’s place of residence can cause paperwork delays and risk missing the five-day limit. A register office in the same district as your loved one’s home should ideally be used if they passed away at home. If the death occurred in a nursing home or hospital, refer to their district register office. These options aren’t always practical, especially if you live far away from the deceased. So choosing the closest register office to their last residence as possible is the best option. Register offices can be very busy and so to avoid delays or increased waiting times, it is recommended that you call to make an appointment. This will allow you to prepare relevant documents to bring along to your appointment. Home visits to register a birth, death or stillbirth are entirely at the discretion of the Registrar, and are subject to many and varied criteria.

What documents will you receive from the registrar? The registrar will give you two documents once they have all the information required. The first is the Certificate for Burial or Cremation, known as the green form. The second document will be the death certificate, which is a paid-for service. This allows the deceased to be buried or cremated and must be filled out and handed to your chosen funeral director. Registrars can instead provide a burial- only green form if the death is yet to be registered. Additional copies of the death certificate can be important, especially when administering the estate, or if the estate falls into probate, as photocopies are not usually accepted. The registrar may also provide a BD8 Registration of Death form. If your loved one received a state pension or benefits these must be completed and mailed to the addresses already written on.

Who can register a death? The person registering a death —

What do you need to register a death? The only document needed to register a death is a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death not to be confused with a death certificate. This will be issued to you by a doctor and lists your loved one’s cause, date, and place of death, as well as name and age. This is essential — the Registrar can do nothing without it. If the death has been referred to the Coroner, the Coroner’s Office will advise you what to do. If the deceased received a pension or allowance from public funds, such as a Civil Service or Army Pension inform the Registrar. Although other documentation is not essential for registering a death, providing as much additional information as possible can help speed up the process. You shouldn’t delay registering if you do not have the below information. It helps the registration process if you can also provide • the deceased’s NHS medical card • birth and marriage/ civil partnership certificates • proof of address and passport As well as the details on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, further information required from you includes the deceased’s last occupation, address, state pension information, place of birth and their partner’s full name, birth date and occupation. Bringing supporting documents for these is useful but not vital. The Registrar will enter all these details into a computer system and will then give you the opportunity to check they are correct. The information will then be written into a register. This is the “original” legal record and you should check it through very carefully before signing it, as any mistakes discovered later on may be difficult to correct. • driving licence • council tax bill

How much is a death certificate? The cost of a death certificate excluding postage fees is £11 in

otherwise known as the informant — is often a close relative of the deceased, named the executor of the Will. If a close relative is not available to do so, it’s also possible that the informant can be: • a relative who witnessed the loved one’s death, last illness or who lives near their residence • the owner of the premises where the death occurred • the relative arranging the funeral with the funeral director or someone else who was present at the death but this does NOT mean the funeral director • are a senior administrator from the hospital (if the person died in hospital) • are the manager of the care home where the person died • are the occupier of the building where the person died

England and Wales – £15 if you haven’t registered for a Government Registration Office (GRO) index reference number. Multiple copies can be ordered for the same price. Death certificates typically take up to five working days to arrive but if needed sooner, one can be sent with priority for £35. death certificate won’t be available until November the following year, with a priority postage fee of £50. If one is needed for use in the EU, a Multilingual Standard Form is needed at a cost of £22. You can order all death certificates on the HM Passport Office site in England and Wales. an you register a death without a birth certificate? Yes. A birth certificate can help the death registration process, but the only essential document needed to register a death is a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, which will be given to you by a doctor. If a death is registered overseas, however, a

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