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24 April 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 – impact on registration of deaths

Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, deaths had to be registered in person at the local Register Office and the person (the informant) registering the death must have signed the certificate in the presence of the Registrar. However, with the current lockdown measures in place and registration offices now closed to the public until further notice, this is no longer possible.

The Government introduced measures under the Coronavirus Act 2020 which will affect the registration of deaths. The amendment to the current procedures is to ensure that our loved ones continue to be treated with dignity. The changes which affect the registration of deaths have been modified to consider that families who have lost a loved one may be self-isolating and have limited resources to register their death. The changes include:

  • Information to register a death can be provided remotely by the informant. Many Register Offices are now conducting telephone appointments so the informant registering the death is no longer required to attend the Register Office.
  • The death can be registered by a funeral director where they are responsible for arranging the deceased’s funeral and the family have provided their consent.
  • Documents that would previously need to be physically provided to the Registrar can be transmitted electronically.
  • A doctor who may not have seen the deceased can certify the cause of death without the need for the death to be referred to the Coroner. A coroner will only be notified if there is no medical practitioner to sign the certificate or they are not available within a reasonable time.
  • Following the registration of the death, the death certificate will be posted to the informant.

Supporting our clients through difficult times

In a time where we are practising social distancing and many self-isolating, it is important to stay connected to the people in your life and professionals that can help you through these difficult days. A private client practitioner’s compassion is an important part of our job and Covid-19 has further highlighted the importance of this role. So, while we may have to keep a physical distance from others to prevent the spread of the virus, it does not mean you need to be emotionally distant.

Anne Beckett-Allen, Director of Rosedale Funeral Home has put together some useful information on planning a funeral during Covid-19 and ensuring your loved ones get the send-off they deserve.

Other funeral directors that have details of arranging funeral directly relating to during covid-19 include:

For more information on Wills, Trusts and Probate services during Covid-19, please read our articles on:

Private Client and Grants of Probate update

Coronavirus: Wills and Probate Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus: Practical tips for making a Will

If you would like any further information regarding administering an estate or have any further questions regarding the Coronavirus Act 2020 and the changes which affect the registration of deaths please do not hesitate to contact our Wills, trusts and probate by emailing probate@steeleslaw.co.uk or calling 01603 598000, who will be happy to assist.

*The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.

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