Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard enough, but in the current crisis where families may have to self isolate or are unable to leave their homes due to Covid-19-related sickness absence, it may become impossible to comply with the usual requirements for registering a death.
Following a death, it is still necessary for the death to be registered by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the district where someone dies. This is the formal record of the death and unless the coroner is involved, must be done either within 5 days, or a further 9 days, if the registrar has been notified that a medical certificate has been issued. Before the COVID-19 crisis, only certain people could register a death and had to attend before the registrar in person.
The Coronavirus Act has however expanded the list of people who can now register a death, and this includes funeral directors who are helping the family with the arrangements. Information and documents are still needed to be produced to the registrar, such as the medical certificate of death (which can now be sent electronically) and details of the birth, occupation, place of death and last address of the person who has died which can be given by telephone. The new rules also dispense with the signing of the register.
These adjustments will at least give some assistance to families having to register a death and enable them to make arrangements for the person who has died with sensitivity and with dignity.
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