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Registering a death

This page has been updated to help anyone in St Helens experiencing bereavement or loss to find the services they need during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes:

  • How to register a death
  • How to arrange a funeral
  • How to deal with financial arrangements
  • How to find a bereavement counsellor

Step-by-step guidance can also be found in our helpful online guide, or on the government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/when-someone-dies

Until further notice, registering deaths will be completed over the telephone. Please phone 01744 676789.

GP surgeries have been contacted and asked to send any paperwork to our Register Office electronically and to include the details of the next of kin.

Anyone who has already collected a medical certificate of cause of death from a GP should write their name and phone number on the envelope, post it in the letterbox outside Wesley House and await contact from a registrar. Alternatively, please post it to us at Register Office, Wesley House, Corporation Street, St Helens, WA10 1HF.

When a registrar contacts the next of kin to register a death, they will be able to purchase certificates by card over the phone, which will enable access to funeral funds. The certificates will be posted out first class. 

Further death certificates for recent deaths are now available to purchase online only.

Tell Us Once Service

In the event of a relative or friend dying, you will need to inform a number of different organisations. This can be done through the Tell Us Once Service. To use this service, please call the council on 01744 676789. Alternately you can call The Department for Work and Pensions on 0800 085 7308. 

Arranging the Funeral

Funeral Directors can be found through the following organisations:

The National Association of Funeral Directors: https://funeral-directory.co.uk / 0121 711 1343

The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors: https://saif.org.uk/contact / 0345 230 6777

If you are organising a self-arranged funeral, the council’s Bereavement Service Team can be contacted by calling 01744 677101 or emailing sthelenscrematorium@sthelens.gov.uk

During this time, funerals and burials will still go ahead, but with a current limit of no more than 10 immediate family members permitted to attend, in accordance with government social gathering and distancing guidance.

While public access to both cemeteries is still available, we ask that residents refrain from visiting the grounds until it is safe to do so.

Help with Finances

The Money Advice Service provides free and impartial advice on all aspects of finance, including what to do during a bereavement. They can be contacted through their website https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/categories/when-someone-dies or by telephone on 0800 138 7777.

Bereavement Counselling

Bereavement counselling can help you come to terms with the feelings you experience after the loss of a relative, friend or work colleague.

The organisations listed here all provide services that can help you. Please bear in mind that, like all services, they may be experiencing increased demand and reduced staffing levels during the coronavirus outbreak, so may not respond to you immediately. Because of government isolation advice, most have temporarily suspended their face-to-face counselling work.

Bereavement Counselling: 01744 646173/4

St Helens Bereavement Service: 01744 451793

CRUSE Bereavement Care: 0844 477 9400

Age UK Mid-Mersey (St Helens, Halton, Warrington, Widnes & Runcorn): 01744 752644

Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS): 0151 430 1376

Children's Bereavement Services Child Bereavement UK: 0800 0288 840 

In a small number of cases, some deaths have to be reported to the coroner. The coroner must then decide if there should be further investigation.

The registrar cannot register the death until the coroner's decision is made.

If you have been advised the coroner is involved, please contact the register office on 01744 676789 to advise us of your contact details. Once the necessary paperwork is received, we will contact you to make a mutually convenient appointment. 

Situations reportable to the coroner

  • There is no doctor who can issue a medical certificate of cause of death
  • Where the deceased was not seen by the doctor issuing the medical certificate after death nor within 14 days before death
  • Where the cause of death is unknown
  • Where the cause of death is believed to be unnatural or suspicious
  • Where the death occurred during an operation or before recovery from an anaesthetic
  • Where the death is due to an industrial disease or industrial poisoning

Taking a body out of England and Wales

If you need to move a body out of England and Wales, you need permission from the coroner in the district where the body is.

You will need to complete a Form of Notice - Form 104, available from the register office or the coroner. Once completed, you need to take or send the form to the coroner. The coroner will take the notice and will say when the body can be removed; this will usually be four clear days later. For more urgent requests you should contact the coroner's office directly.

After a death has been registered, the registrar will issue:

  • A certificate for burial or cremation (green form), giving permission for the body to be buried or to apply for the body to be cremated
  • Certified copies of the death registration (death certificate); there is a fee of £11 per copy of certificate
  • A certificate of registration of death (form BD8), issued for the Department of Works and Pensions  
  • A Tell Us Once registration form, quoting a unique reference number

Documents

When registering a death, you'll need to take the following:

  • Medical certificate of the cause of death (signed by a doctor)

And, if available, identification belonging to the person who has died:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • Utility bill

Also, identification for yourself:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Utility bill 
  • Bank statement

Information

You’ll need to tell the registrar:

  • The person’s full name at time of death
  • Any names previously used, including maiden surname
  • The person’s date and place of birth (town and county if born in the UK and country if born abroad)
  • Their last address
  • Their occupation
  • The full name, date of birth and occupation of a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • If they were getting a state pension or any other state benefit

Please check carefully before signing the register to ensure the information recorded in the death register is correct. If any mistakes are made, you will need to apply to the General Register Office (GRO) for any amendments. The amendments, if allowed by the GRO, will be added onto the record as a note in the margin – the original records will not be altered. The GRO charges a fee of £90 for consideration of corrections. 

If English is not your first language and help is needed, a relative or friend may act as an interpreter.

If the person died in a house or hospital, the death can be registered by:

  • A relative
  • Someone present at the death
  • An occupant of the house
  • An official from the hospital
  • The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors

Deaths that occurred anywhere else can be registered by:

  • A relative
  • Someone present at the death
  • The person who found the body
  • The person in charge of the body
  • The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors

Most deaths are registered by a relative. The registrar would normally only allow other people if there are no relatives available.

If English is not the first language of the relative or person registering, someone else can accompany them to the registrar's office to interpret. However, the relative must register the death.

The time after someone passes away is very difficult for family and friends. However, there are many people who need to be informed and things you will have to do.

Who to inform

Within the first five days of someone passing, you will need to contact:

  • Family doctor
  • Registrars – to register the death 
  • Funeral director – to begin the funeral arrangements
  • Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) 
  • Tell Us Once  

For deaths, we advise you to consider carefully who you may need to inform and who may need to see a certified copy of the death certificate. These can include:

  • Bank, building societies or post office  – to close down accounts, stop direct debits
  • Probate 
  • School or employer
  • Insurance companies
  • Mortgage provider or landlord
  • Dentist
  • Royal Mail – to redirect post
  • Stocks and shares 
  • Solicitors
  • Private pensions  
  • Premium Bond 
  • Other legal contracts and agreements

Things to return

Some organisations require that you return documentation to them:

  • Passport Office – to cancel and return a passport
  • DVLA – to cancel and return a driving licence, cancel car tax, return car registration/change ownership detail

To stop unwanted mail, you can contact the Bereavement Register and Deceased Preference Service to remove the deceased person’s details from mailing lists and databases or you can come into the crematorium office and pick up a leaflet.