Information about deaths in Oxfordshire | Oxfordshire County Council
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Information about deaths in Oxfordshire

a dead man lying down

When someone dies we will:

  • offer thoughtful advice
  • help you make any important decisions and arrangements.
 a man onthe  phone, someone writing and delivering an envelope

Registering a death

We can help you to register a death and find out what information to provide.

A death must be registered within five days. If the death happened in Oxfordshire you must contact one of the local register offices in the county.

A death can only be registered:  

  • once a doctor has provided a Medical Cause of Death Certificate
  • if the death had to be reported to the coroner and they have told you the paperwork is with the registrar.
a group of people

Who can register the death?

  • A relative of the person who has died.
  • Someone who was there at the death.
  • The person who is arranging the funeral.
  • The person living where the death took place.

We can advise you of the information you will need to take with you.

someone holding a certificate

What certificates are given?

When registering a death you will be provided with certificates.

This includes:

  • a free certificate for burial or cremation which the funeral director will need
  • a free certificate for the Benefits Agency. This will help you to cancel any statutory pensions and other payments the person who has died was collecting
  • a death certificate. This certificate will help you to sort out things such as the will and bank accounts of the person who has died. There is a small charge for this certificate.
a man on a phone

Who to contact when someone dies?

When someone dies you may have to contact a lot of organisations to tell them of the death. You may have to send them a death certificate. We have a list of the people you might need to contact.

someone writing

What is probate?

This is a legal document which allows the persons named in it to collect and share the:

  • property
  • money
  • possessions of someone who has died.

We can provide you with more information and advice about when probate should be decided.

preganant mother looking sad

What is a still-birth?

A still-born child is legally described as a child born after the 24th week of pregnancy who did not at any time after being born breathe or show any other signs of life.

registration office and someone signing

Registering a still-birth    

When a child is still-born the doctor or midwife who was there at the birth will provide a medical certificate of still-birth. The person who registers the still-birth must take this certificate to the Registrar.

We can advise you of where and who can register a still-birth and the information you will need to take with you.

men carrying a coffin

What is a civil funeral?

A civil funeral is a ceremony that is not religious. There are many reasons why families prefer this kind of ceremony.

A civil funeral is a ceremony that remembers and celebrates the life of a person who has died. It can be held in many buildings and locations but it may not be held in a church or other religious building.

We can advise you of who to contact about arranging a civil funeral and costs for the ceremony.

three doctors

Donating a body to medical science

If a person who has died asked for their body to be donated to medical science we can tell you who to talk to.

The body is normally kept for up to three years and then burial or cremation arrangements are discussed with the person’s family. The death will need to be registered in the same way.

people shaking hands

Support and comfort

We know how difficult it can be when someone close to you dies. We have created a bereavement booklet to offer you  support and guidance. 

a coroner taking notes

The coroner

A coroner’s job is to investigate deaths which:

  • look like they are due to violence
  • are unnatural
  • are sudden and have no known cause
  • occur when someone is in legal custody such as when someone is in prison.
an information sign and a magnifying glass


An inquest is an enquiry to find out:

  • how
  • when
  • where a person has died.

We can tell you of inquests that are happening in Oxfordshire.

john radcliffe and man on phone

Collecting information about someone who has died

Sometimes friends and relatives of someone who has died may need to identify the body or give statements to the police.

A coroner sometimes needs to examine the body. This is called a post mortem.

a mortuary

Mortuary service

The mortuary service looks after:

  • the deaths that have been reported to the coroner
  • the deaths where no death certificate can be given.

You can contact the Bereavement Office at the John Radcliffe Hospital if you have any questions.

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