Death of an adult

Information to guide you through what to do when an adult has died. 

Back to top

Register the death

When someone dies, the death must be registered within 5 days from the date of death. This is a legal requirement.

People with a legal responsibility to register include:

  • A relative of the deceased
  • A person present at the death
  • The occupier of the premises where the death occurred, if he/she knew of it happening
  • The person arranging the funeral (this does NOT mean the Funeral Director).

The doctor who was treating the deceased will automatically issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death to the appropriate Register Office – this is usually done electronically. If the Coroner has been involved, the relevant Coroner's office will advise you of what to do.

If the death happened within Trafford

Consult the Trafford Register Office where you will find instructions on how to register the death.

In addition to registering the death, the Registrar will automatically initiate the government’s 'Tell Us Once' process. This will generate a unique reference number, which the Registrar will give you to quote when notifying any relevant bodies of the death going forward (e.g. HMRC).

If the death happened in outside Trafford

Contact the relevant local authority for direction to the appropriate Register Office, and they will guide you on how to register the death.

If the death has occurred overseas, the process of registering the death is different. Further information is available on the General Register Office website.

After registering the death

After registering the death, you should have received the following documents from the Register Office:

  • A 'Green Form’ – This form enables you to arrange the funeral If the Coroner is involved different procedures may apply
  • Form BD8/344 – This form will be necessary for some Social Security purposes
  • A Death Certificate – This is the legal document certifying that a person has died. There will be a statutory fee for this certificate
Back to top

Arrange the funeral

If you have recently been bereaved and you are now faced with arranging a funeral, we can provide you with help and advice on the steps required to take.

Using a Funeral Director

Whilst you do not need to hire a Funeral Director to organise a funeral, it is often worth considering that Funeral Directors are professionals who have plenty of experience with organising funerals – as such, they will be aware of processes, logistics, and arrangements that need to be made.

Importantly, having a Funeral Director carry out these services on your behalf can also relieve any undue pressures and stress from the bereaved.

Typically, a Funeral Director will:

  • Arrange for collection of the body
  • Arrange for any embalming and/or a viewing of the body
  • Provide a coffin or casket
  • Provide a hearse and cover any logistical arrangements

It is important to remember that a Funeral Director is operating a business and will charge accordingly for their services.

In addition, employing a Funeral Director will mean that the bereaved will need to comply with some commercial restrictions – such as access to the body of the deceased being limited by business hours.

Arranging the funeral yourself

Some people do not wish to use a Funeral Director, for a wide variety of reasons, and prefer to organise the funeral themselves. Such a funeral is often referred to as ‘Personalised’ or ‘Independent’ funeral, and is a personal decision that requires no explanation.

It is important to remember that these funerals will be different because traditional funeral elements may be unobtainable. For example, some Funeral Directors do not offer a hearse for hire service and some do not sell coffins or caskets as individual items. 

Funeral Facilitators

Those organising a funeral themselves may considering hiring a Funeral Facilitator. A Funeral Facilitator will provide assistance with organisation and logistics, such as assistance handling the body or facilitating hearse hire, without taking on the entirety of the funeral organisation like a traditional Funeral Director will. There will be a charge for these services.

Some palliative care nurses may also offer assistance with handling the body, if the deceased has passed away at home.

Public health funerals

Sometimes, it is not possible for a private funeral to be arranged. For example

  • if there is no known next of kin
  • the bereaved are unable to make arrangements for the funeral
  • there are insufficient funds to do so

In this case, where no other suitable arrangements can be made, we can arrange for a public health funeral to take place.

This will mean that the body of the deceased is taken into the care of the government, and all rights to manage organisation of the funeral and burial/cremation are waived by the next of kin. We will arrange for a simple service with a contracted Funeral Director and, where possible, the costs of the funeral will be recovered from the deceased’s estate.

More information about fees and charges. For details of financial aid available for funeral costs, see our help and support page.

Back to top

Choose if you want a Burial or a Cremation

If the deceased has left no instruction, you will need to choose if you wish for the deceased to be buried or cremated. You can find more information of both burials and cremations, as well as our cemeteries and crematorium to help you decide.

Back to top

Sort payment

If you have used a Funeral Director to arrange your funeral and burial or cremation services, they will manage the necessary payments and invoice you directly.

If you have made organisations yourself through Trafford Bereavement Services, contact the office directly to arrange payment. Payment can be made by debit or credit card over the telephone. Cheques should be made payable to Trafford Council. 

Further information about fees and charges. For details of financial aid available for funeral costs, see our help and support page.

Back to top


There are a range of memorial options available to you across our cemeteries and crematorium. For further details of your options, see our memorials page.

Back to top

Manage the estate and affairs of the deceased

For help with managing the estate and affairs of the deceased, including legal advice and further resources, see our help and support page.

Back to top

Grief support

For support with grief, see our help and support page.