How to Register a Death in Westminster.
Westminster City Council are the responsible authority to register a death in Westminster. For professional advice on probate in Westminster, click the link. To register a death in Westminster, read on: but first you might find the video about registering a death on the home page useful.
They hold records of deaths which took place in the City of Westminster after 1837.
They also provide advice and help on correcting the legal records that may have to be processed through the General Register Office.
Call Westminster City Council on 020 7641 1161 to book an appointment to register a death in Westminster.
Register a death in Westminster – Frequently Asked Questions:
If the deceased was attended by a doctor during the last illness it is usual for that doctor to sign a medical certificate of the cause of death and hand it to a relative of the deceased. The cause of death certificate must be given to the registrar before the death can be registered.
If can get the birth certificate and marriage certificate of the deceased it is useful to bring them to the Register Office. These documents are not essential and the death can be registered without them.
In the event that the deceased was not attended by a doctor during their last illness the death will need to be reported to the Coroner. The Coroner will usually order a post mortem to establish the cause of death. If the Coroner does not think it necessary to conduct an investigation into the circumstances of the death he will issue a document to the registrar setting out the cause of death. This document will have to be with the registrar before the death can be registered, so it is advisable to check that the document has been received before trying to make an appointment at the Register Office.
You would usually go to the Register Office for the district in which the death took place. This is the office where the death will be registered. However, if it is not convenient for you to attend that particular office it is possible for you to go to any register office in England and Wales to give a declaration of the details that need to be registered. This declaration will be sent, by post, to the office where the death took place and will be registered by the receiving office. The documents to allow the funeral to take place, a document to send to the DSS and any certified copies of the register entry will be given to the informant.
A relative of the deceased is the person best qualified to register the death as it is likely that they will know all the information necessary to fully complete the registration. If no relatives are available there is a list of other qualified “informants” for the registration. A person present at the death or the administrative officer of a hospital or nursing home in which the death took place may be qualified. In the last resort the person instructing the funeral director would be qualified to register if nobody else was available.
The registrar will ask for information concerning the details of the deceased:
- Date and Place of death.
- Full name of deceased.
- Maiden surname if the deceased was a woman who had married.
- The date and place of birth.
- The occupation (if the deceased was a married woman or a widow, the name and occupation of her husband.)
- The usual address.
- Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds.
- If the deceased was married the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower.
- The full name and address of the person registering the death (the informant).
There is no cost to register a death and the registrar will issue a document to enable the funeral to take place and also a document for the DSS which will clear up any outstanding pension or benefit payments. The only cost involved is where the person registering the death requires certified copies of the death registration to clear up any outstanding matters on the estate. For example, if the deceased had any bank or building society accounts or insurance policies it will be necessary to obtain copies of the death registration as evidence of the death. Each copy attracts a statutory fee and you should contact the Register Office to establish the current charges.
The registration of a death can be undertaken from Monday to Friday by appointment. To make an appointment please call 020 7641 1161.
If you need to register a death on a Saturday you must telephone first – 020 7641 1161.
However, Westminster City Council do recognise that some members of the community require a funeral to take place as quickly as possible. If a death occurs in the City of Westminster and the funeral needs to take place within 24 hours, they have a registrar on duty on Sunday mornings between 8.00am and 9.00am. The registrar may be able to issue a document to allow a burial to proceed. If you require this service you should telephone 020 7641 1310 during this hour.
Before a body can be removed from England and Wales the Coroner must issue an authorisation. The forms that need to be completed can usually be obtained from the funeral director who will normally liaise directly with the Coroner’s Office on your behalf. However, if you have any difficulty obtaining the necessary documents your local register office will assist.
What do I need to do if I want to bury or cremate a body in this country if the death took place abroad?
You need to take the death certificate issued by the foreign registration authority to the registrar of the district in which the burial or cremation is taking place. The registrar has to issue a document called a ‘Certificate of no liability to register’. This is the document that will be given to the funeral director in order to allow the funeral to proceed.
What documents do I get when I register a death in Westminster?
The registrar will issue a document to allow a burial or cremation to proceed if the Coroner has not already done so. This document needs to be given to the funeral director as the burial or cremation cannot proceed without it. The registrar will also issue a document for the Department of Social Security (DSS). This document will clear up any outstanding pension entitlement, if appropriate, and also gives the DSS information on the benefit entitlement of the surviving spouse or surviving civil partner. These are the only two documents that the registrar issues free of charge.
Why has the death been referred to the Coroner’s Office? And therefore why won’t you register the death?
There are a number of reasons why a death might have to be referred to the Coroner.
The most common reason is that there was no doctor treating the deceased during the last illness and therefore there is no doctor who is legally qualified to issue a medical certificate of the cause of death.
It may be that the doctor certifying the death has not seen the deceased after death or within 14 days of the death.
It may be that the death was the result of an accident, injury, self neglect, occurred during an operation or was the result of an industrial disease related to the deceased’s occupation.
In all these circumstances the registrar is legally obligated to report the death to the Coroner in order to properly establish the cause of death. The registrar cannot register until the Coroner has notified the registrar.