Register a stillbirth

A stillbirth should be registered within 42 days.

Sometimes a stillbirth can be registered after 42 days - the register office can explain when this can happen. You can name the baby in the register.

Contact a register office to register the stillbirth.

In Scotland you must register a stillbirth within 21 days. In Northern Ireland you have up to 1 year to register a stillbirth.

Who can register the stillbirth

If the baby’s parents are married or in a civil partnership, either the mother or father can register.

The mother can register if:

  • the baby’s parents are not married or in a civil partnership
  • the father cannot be traced or is unknown

If the father registers the stillbirth and the parents are not married or in a civil partnership, the mother will need to make a ‘signed declaration’ (the register office can explain how to do this).

If both parents want the father’s name in the register and they are not married or in a civil partnership, the register office can tell you what you need to do.

If the child was conceived as a result of fertility treatment

The following people can register the stillbirth:

  • the mother
  • the father, if he was married to or in a civil partnership with the mother at the time of treatment
  • the second female parent, if she was married to or in a civil partnership with the mother at the time of treatment

If neither parent can register

The following people can register the stillbirth:

  • the occupier of the hospital or house where the stillbirth took place
  • someone who was present at the stillbirth
  • someone who is responsible for the stillborn child
  • the person who found the stillborn child, if the date and place of the stillbirth are unknown

What documents you need

The register office will tell you what documents you need.

You can arrange a funeral for your baby.

Financial support and taking time off work

Following a stillbirth, you’re normally entitled to:

You may be asked for evidence to get financial support depending on what you’re claiming. For example, this can be the notification for the registration of a stillbirth from the attending doctor or midwife, or a certificate of stillbirth from the registrar.

You will not be able to claim Child Benefit.

Support organisations

The following organisations give support and advice:

  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