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 give the relatives 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 District you can register the death at the Register Office in Bradford or at Keighley Town Hall. You must make an appointment to register by telephoning 01274 432151 before you come in. A death can also be registered at the Bradford Royal Infirmary or Airedale General Hospital but you must make an appointment through one of their bereavement officers. For the Bradford Royal Infirmary please telephone 01274 364477 and for Airedale Hospital please telephone 01535 652511 and ask for the bereavement officer.

When you attend for your appointment you must take the certificate issued by the doctor with you. If the coroner is involved, please make sure that he has sent his paperwork to the Register Office before you attend to register. The Registrar will also need to see some identification for the person who has died and also for you, such as a passport; birth certificate; driving licence; marriage certificate.

If it is inconvenient for you to register the death in this district you may make an appointment at a Register Office in another district. We will send a copy of the cause of death certificate or coroner’s certificate to that office. They will record the information and send it to our registrar who will then register the death. (This process is known as registering by declaration.)

When you make a declaration in another district you can pay them for the death certificate to be posted to you.

This procedure may mean that you cannot go ahead and arrange the funeral straight away. This is because you will need to wait for the death certificate and documents allowing the funeral to proceed to be posted to you by the other district.

While you are waiting you should begin discussing funeral arrangements with your funeral director to minimise any delay.

If you wish to visit our Register Office to declare a death which occurred outside the Bradford District please telephone for an appointment before visiting the office in person. You must also contact the district in which the death occurred. It can save waiting time if you do this before you come to see us.

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 on computer and in the death register, and you will sign the record.

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.

It is most important that the information recorded in the death register is correct. You should check the information very carefully before signing the entry. A mistake can easily be put right before you sign, but after signing it will be much more difficult.

If you have difficulty in communicating in English you may bring someone else 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. The registrar will tell you the cost or you can read the certificate and ceremony fees page
  • 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 who is making the arrangements. A funeral cannot proceed until this certificate is given to the burial authority or the crematorium. 
  • Department of Work and Pensions certificate – the registrar will also give you a certificate so that you can inform the Department of Work and Pensions that the person has died.

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.

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:

  • 07582 100369
  • 07582 100377
  • 07582 102540

Contact details

Bradford and Keighley Register Office
City Hall
Centenary Square

Phone : 01274 432151
Fax : 01274 305139

Please note: Death registrations are by appointment only.

Monday to Friday:

9am to 4.30pm


By appointment only

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