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Registering a Death and Coronavirus – What you need to know

Coronavirus has changed so much of our daily lives so it’s not surprising that the way we register deaths has also changed. 

Following implementation of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the following has changed:

  • All deaths may now be registered by telephone rather than in person where the informant is unable to attend, for example, due to self isolation or the need to care for others. Within Leicester City all deaths are to be registered by telephone appointment until further notice irrelevant of whether the informant is able to attend. 
  • Where the death is registered by telephone, there is no requirement for the person registering the death to sign the register in the presence of the registrar.
  • A death may now be registered by the funeral director who is arranging the deceased’s funeral and where the family of the deceased agrees to this.

In particular, what hasn’t changed is that all deaths must be registered within 5 days, unless the coroner is involved. This includes weekends and bank holidays. It is a criminal offence not to register a death.

In addition, the order of priority of who may register a death has not changed. Namely:

  • A relative 
  • Someone present at the death 
  • Someone who lived at the house if the death occurred there or an official from the public building where the death occurred, for example, a hospital
  • The person arranging the funeral with the funeral director – but not the funeral director themselves unless the family agrees to this under the Coronavirus Act 2020. 

When attending the appointment in person or by telephone you should have the following information available:

  • Date and place of death
  • Name, address, date and place of birth
  • Where the deceased is a woman who has been married or formed a civil partnership, her maiden name is required
  • Occupation of the deceased
  • Name, occupation and date of birth of their spouse or civil partner
  • Medical card details and NHS number, if available
  • Whether the deceased was in receipt of pension or benefits, if known.

Once the death is registered, there are several actions that will need to be taken, in order to deal with the finances and personal effects of the deceased, and to arrange a funeral. The process may seem daunting but rest assured that advice is available and a solicitor can take on a little or as much of the burden as you wish. 

If you have any questions, or for a free, no-obligation, conversation about any of the above, please contact me on 03300 242420 ext 17 or 

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