Forms and certificates received following a death

May 27, 2014

When someone dies, you will receive different forms and certificates depending on the circumstances of their death.

If the doctor can confirm the cause of death they will give you a:

  • medical certificate that shows the cause of death (this is free of charge and will be in an envelope addressed to the registrar)
  • formal notice that says that the doctor has signed the medical certificate (this tells you how to get the death registered).

Working businessmanHowever, if the cause of death is not clear, the doctor must report it to the coroner, who may decide that there needs to be a post-mortem and an inquest. The doctor will write on the formal notice that they have referred the death to the coroner.

If a post-mortem is carried out and shows that a person has died due to natural causes, the coroner may issue a notice known as ‘Pink Form B’ (form 100B). This form shows the cause of death so that the death can be registered.

If an inquest has to be carried out and is going to take some time, you can ask the coroner to give you an ‘interim certificate of the fact of death’ or a letter confirming the person’s death. You can use this certificate or letter for benefits and National Insurance purposes. Financial institutions should usually accept this certificate as evidence of the death.

The coroner should be able to give you an ‘order of burial’ or a ‘certificate for cremation’ so that you can arrange the funeral, as long as the body is not needed for further examination.

The coroner will also send a ‘certificate after inquest’ to the registrar, which will give the cause of death. This means that the registrar can register the death.

If you want to move the body out of England or Wales, you must get the coroners permission at least 4 days before you want the body to be moved. After the coroner has finished their inquiries, they will give you a ‘removal notice’.

If a baby is stillborn (born dead after the 24th week of pregnancy) you will be given a medical certificate of stillbirth signed by the midwife or doctor. If there wasn’t a doctor or midwife there, and no doctor or midwife has examined the body, you will need to sign a form (form 35) when registering the death, which the registrar will give you.

The following is a summary of the forms and certificates you may be given by doctors and coroners. The list explains when and where you get each form.

When someone has died You will usually get the following You will get this from the following
In all cases Formal notice Doctor
The death is not referred to a coroner Medical certificate Doctor
A baby is stillborn Medical certificate of stillbirth Doctor or midwife
The death is referred to a coroner, but there is no inquest Notification by the coroner (pink form 100A or 100B) Coroner (the coroner usually sends this direct to the registrar, but you may be asked to take it to the registrar yourself)
There is an inquest and the body is to be buried Order for burial (form 101) Coroner
There is a post-mortem or an inquest and the body is to be cremated Coroner’s certificate for cremation Coroner
The body is to be moved out of England or Wales Removal notice (form 104) Coroner


For more information about what to do when a loved one dies, click here to read our helpful guide.