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Registering a death

Deaths must be registered within 5 days. Unless a coroner is involved.

All deaths must be registered with the Registrar of births and deaths in the area where the death occurred. You can book an appointment to register a death online, or by calling us on 01234 718 028.

Registering a stillbirth - special arrangement

If you need to register a stillbirth please do not book online. Please telephone 01234 718 028 and ask to speak to a Registrar who can talk you through the process. You can also email us on

You have 42 days in which to register a stillbirth.

Registering deaths at a Register Office outside of Bedford

If the death occurred in Bedford Borough, but you cannot attend the Register Office in Bedford, you can register the death by making a declaration to any Registrar of Births and Deaths in England or Wales. They will forward the details of the death to the Bedford Borough Register Office, who will record the event. This is called a Death Registration by Declaration.

If you wish to purchase any death certificates you can order a Death declaration certificate on our website. Certificates are posted out 1st class.

This can cause delays with funeral arrangements therefore we advise you to register the death in the area where the death occurred, if possible.

Who can register a death

A death can be registered by:

  • a relative of the person who has died
  • a person present at the time of the death
  • the person who is arranging the funeral (i.e. the person instructing the funeral director)
  • the occupier of the house or institution where the person has died (if no-one else is available)

You may bring a friend or relative with you if you like, please do not worry about the registration; if you are upset the registrar will understand.

What you need to bring

In most cases you will be given a sealed medical certificate of cause of death issued by the doctor or hospital and we will need to see this in order to register the death. If a Coroner is involved they may send the paperwork direct to us. We cannot register the death without the correct medical paperwork so if you are unsure please contact us.

When you attend your appointment the registrar will ask you for the following information:

  • when and where the person died
  • their name and address
  • their date and place of birth
  • their occupation
  • your name and address as the informant

If they were married or widowed or were in a civil partnership we will also need to know;

  • the full name and occupation of their wife/husband/civil partner
  • their wife/husband/civil partner’s date of birth
  • if they were female their maiden name

If you can bring any documents with you that confirm the above information it will help the Registrar to ensure the accuracy of the record. Please do not worry if you cannot find some documents, we can register the death without them as long as you know the information.

e.g. passports, council tax bill/utility bill, driving licences, marriage/civil partnership certificate, birth certificates, deed poll documents, NHS medical card, your passport/driving licence and proof of your address as the informant.

Death certificates

It is free to register a death and you will receive the following documents automatically and without charge:

  • a green form to be given to the funeral director (if the coroner has not already issued a cremation form)
  • a white BD8 form to be completed and sent by you, with any benefit or pension details to the Department of Work and Pensions
  • within 5 working days of the appointment you will be given a code to use the Tell us Once service

You will almost certainly require at least one death certificate in order to deal with the deceased's affairs. All certificates cost £11 each.

We recommend that you decide how many you require before attending your appointment. All payments must be made by debit or credit card.


Appointments are 30 minutes long.

If you have any queries or concerns please call us on 01234 718 028 and speak to a Registrar who can discuss them with you.

Advice about cremation, cemeteries, memorials and monuments

For information and advice about cremation, cemeteries, memorials and monuments, or for help and advice regarding financial support towards the cost of a funeral please visit Bedford Borough Council's Bereavement Services page.