When a death is reported to a coroner

If a death is reported to a coroner, the documents you need to register the death may be different. The coroner will decide either:

  • the cause of death is clear
  • that a post-mortem is needed
  • to hold an inquest

The cause of death is clear

If the coroner decides that the cause of death is clear:

  1. The doctor signs a medical certificate.

  2. You take the medical certificate to the registrar to register the death.

  3. The coroner issues a certificate to the registrar stating a post-mortem is not needed.

A post-mortem is needed

The coroner may decide a post-mortem is needed to find out how the person died. This can be done either in a hospital or mortuary.

You cannot object to a coroner’s post-mortem - but if you’ve asked the coroner must tell you (and the person’s GP) when and where the examination will take place.

After the post-mortem

The coroner will release the body for a funeral once they have completed the post-mortem examinations and no further examinations are needed.

If the body is released with no inquest, the coroner will send a form (‘Pink Form - form 100B’) to the registrar stating the cause of death.

The coroner will also send a ‘Certificate of Coroner - form Cremation 6’ if the body is to be cremated.

The coroner holds an inquest

A coroner must hold an inquest if:

  • the cause of death is still unknown
  • the person might have died a violent or unnatural death
  • the person might have died in prison or police custody

You will need to get an interim death certificate during the inquest, so you can notify the registrar of the death. Once the inquest is over, you can get the final death certificate from the registrar.

Get an interim death certificate during the inquest

If you need proof of the death while you wait for the inquest to finish, ask the coroner for an interim death certificate.

Use the interim death certificate to notify a registrar of the death while the inquest is still taking place.

You can use the interim death certificate to apply for probate.

To report a death to more than one government organisation at once:

  1. Ask the coroner for the interim death certificate.

  2. Find a registrar.

  3. The registrar will either help you report the death or give you a unique reference number. Use this number to report the death using the Tell Us Once service.

Get a death certificate

After the inquest, the coroner will confirm the cause of death to the registrar.

The registrar will register the death.

You can ask the registrar for a death certificate.

Get help

You can get free, independent support from The Coroners’ Courts Support Service.

The Coroners’ Courts Support Service Helpline (England and Wales)
Telephone: 0300 111 2141
Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm
Saturday, 9am to 2pm
Find out about call charges

  1. Step 1 Register the death

    1. Register the death within 5 days

    Check what to do if:

    To stop or change benefits payments you can tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about the death straight away.

  2. Step 2 Arrange the funeral

  3. Step 3 Tell government about the death

    The Tell Us Once service allows you to inform all the relevant government departments when someone dies.

    1. Use the Tell Us Once service to tell government
    2. If you cannot use Tell Us Once, tell government yourself

    You'll also need to tell banks, utility companies, and landlords or housing associations yourself.

  4. Step 4 Check if you can get bereavement benefits

  5. and Deal with your own benefits, pension and taxes

    Your tax, benefit claims and pension might change depending on your relationship with the person who died.

    1. Manage your tax, pensions and benefits if your spouse has died
    2. Check how benefits are affected if a child dies
  6. and Check if you need to apply to stay in the UK

    If your right to live in the UK depends on your relationship with someone who died you might need to apply for a new visa.

    Check the rules if:

    1. Contact UKVI to check the rules for other visas
  7. Step 5 Apply for probate and check if you need to pay Inheritance Tax

    You might need to apply for probate and pay Inheritance Tax before you can deal with the property, money and possessions (the ‘estate’) of the person who died.

    1. Check if you need to apply for probate
    1. Estimate the value of the estate to find out if you need to pay Inheritance Tax
    1. Find out how to report the value of the estate
    1. Pay Inheritance Tax if it’s due
    1. Apply for probate
  8. Step 6 Deal with the estate

    Pay any debts or taxes owed by the person who's died. You can then distribute the estate as set out in the will or the law.

    1. Deal with the estate
    1. Update property records