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When someone dies at home or in a Nursing Home:

The family doctor and closest relatives must be informed when someone dies at home. If your loved one dies at a Nursing Home, the staff will arrange for the Doctor to visit. The Doctor who has attended to your loved one during their last illness must complete a certificate giving the cause of death. The 'Medical Certificate of Cause of Death' is a legal requirement issued free of charge. Depending upon the day and time, the Doctor may issue the Certificate later, and you may be asked to collect this from the surgery. This Certificate must be taken to your local Registrar of Births and Deaths, allowing registration to occur.

When someone dies in a Hospital

If someone dies in the Hospital, the Health Authority will arrange for the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to be completed and will usually ask one to collect this from the Bereavement Officer. On some occasions, the Hospital will want to carry out a post-mortem, for which consent from the nearest relative will be required. This request will be for additional information on the cause of death and isn't, in any way, a legal requirement. When you visit the Bereavement Officer to collect the Certificate, you will need to inform them of your intentions for the funeral. Should you opt for a Cremation, two additional documents will need to be completed by the Hospital, and the deceased cannot be removed from their care until these have been completed. In any case, we ask that you contact us as soon as possible. We can then guide you through the immediate steps and ensure you know what is happening.


When someone dies Suddenly

If there is doubt about the cause of death - for example, if the death was sudden or the Doctor had not seen the person within fourteen days before death - then the Coroner must be informed. In many cases, this procedure is just routine and should not cause concern. If death is considered a natural cause, the Coroner will notify them that they do not think it necessary to conduct any further examination or conduct an inquest. This documentation may be given to a relative to take to the Registrar or sent to the Registrar directly. However, should the Coroner consider that further examination is required to determine a cause of death, they will authorise a Post Mortem Examination to be carried out. 

Who should register the death and when?

Once the 'Medical Certificate of Cause of Death' has been issued, you should take it to the Registrar of Births and Deaths. This will enable registration to occur, which must be completed within five days of the death by law. The 'Medical Certificate of Cause of Death' will often be issued by the GP who attended to the deceased during their illness. You will collect the Certificate from the surgery if the deceased passes away at home, and you should call the surgery to arrange this. However, if the death occurred in the Hospital, you should contact the Patients Affairs Office to arrange collection. There is no charge payable for this Certificate.


Those who are eligible to register the death are:


A relative was present at the death

A relative in attendance during the last illness

A relative residing in the sub-district where the death occurred


If death is reported to the Coroner, registration cannot occur until we or the Coroner inform you. If a coroner is involved, there may be a different registration procedure, and we'll guide you through these variations should they arise.


What information will the Registrar ask for?

Specific information concerning the death will be on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. However, other information regarding the deceased will be required:


Their full name, any previously used names or maiden name.

Date and location of birth.

Occupation or husband's occupation if a married woman.

Address of the deceased was married, the date of birth of the Widow or Widower.


The Registrar will also ask if the person who has died received any pension or allowance from Government or public funds, including Civil Service, Naval Base, and Armed Forces funds. These details will be required so that the Registrar can forward a copy of the death certificate directly to these organisations on your behalf.

Where should you register?

You must register the death at the office within the district where the death occurred. An appointment will need to be made, and our local Registrars are listed below. Should death occur outside of    Portsmouth, we can provide you with the details of the relevant Registrar, and we'll even make the appointment for you. If you have difficulty getting to the Registrar, just let us know. We'll take you there and bring you back, and there is NO charge for this service. Should you, as a relative, live a long distance away from the Registrar, you can, in certain circumstances, register by declaration. Please let us know.


What documents are issued?

Once the death is registered, the Registrar will release three documents. The first is a White Certificate (BD8 Rev) containing a social security form. This enables you to claim any arrears or benefits due to the deceased person's estate and ensure that the widow's correct benefits are paid if applicable. The white Certificate is issued free of charge. Secondly, a Green Certificate, the Registrar's Certificate for Burial or Cremation. This Certificate is required by the Burial or Cremation authority and must be given to the Funeral Director. Should the deceased be resting at a hospital, given your instructions, we will need the green Certificate as evidence before any collection can be carried out. This Certificate is provided free of charge.


Thirdly, they will provide you with a Certified Copy of the Entry, known as the 'Death Certificate', a copy of the actual entry in the Register of Deaths. These can purchase copies of the Certified Copy of Entry for a small fee. Additional copies of the Certificate will be necessary for the Grant of  Probate or Letters of    Administration. You may also require copies of this Certificate for informing Banks, Building Societies, Insurance companies, Solicitors and if you intend to claim a funeral payment through the DWP. These organisations will only accept original certificates and not photocopies.


If you have any other queries or would like to speak to someone concerning the registration process, please do not hesitate to call upon our services. Alternatively, you may contact the local Registrar for Births, Deaths, and  Marriages. Please note that you will need to make an appointment to register a death.



Record Office,
3 Orchard Street, Chichester, West Sussex,

PO19 1DD
Telephone Number:

01243 642122


High Street,
Gosport, PO12 1BT
Telephone Number:

0845 603 5637


27 The Square
GU32 3HH

Telephone Number :

0300 555 1392


6a Bugle Street
SO14 2AJ

Telephone Number : 

023 8091 5327


4 Osborn Road South,

PO16 7DG
Telephone Number:

01329 280493


Civic Centre Road,
Havant, PO9 2AX
Telephone Number:

0845 603 5637


Milldam House,
Burnaby Road,

Portsmouth, PO1 3AF
Telephone Number:

023 9275 6597


Castle Hill High Street


SO23 8UH

Telephone Number : 

0300 555 1392

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