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:
The doctor signs a medical certificate.
You take the medical certificate to the registrar to register the death.
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:
Ask the coroner for the interim death certificate.
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 corner will confirm the cause of death to the registrar.
The registrar will register the death.
You can ask the registrar for a death certificate.
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