Probate and Will, Trust & Estate Disputes

Publish date

1 July 2024

Changes to the Death Certification process – How will this impact you?

Following the Harold Shipman Enquiry in 2005, the Morecambe Bay Investigation and the Gosport Independent Panel, the Government is making changes to the Death Certificate Registration Process.

From the 9th September 2024, when a death is not being investigated by a coroner, all deaths in England and Wales will be required to be independently reviewed.

Under the new process, a medical practitioner will attend the death and complete a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). This will then be reviewed by a Medical Examiner who will complete a declaration to certify the death. The MCCD will then be sent to the Registrar who will inform the family (or appropriate person) that they can register the death and the five-day clock is now running. This is different from previous practice in which the clock started running from the date of death.

The NHS Trusts and GPs will also be able to share all patient records with the Medical Examiner to allow full scrutiny.

The new process is expected to increase the efficiency of the Death Certification process and reduce the number of ‘uncertified’ deaths.

The new medical certificates will include details of the attending GP and information about the deceased such as their declared ethnicity, medical devices and implants. It is hoped that this will increase the use of mortality data.

In addition, the scope of who can register a death now includes a deceased’s partner or other representatives (to include solicitors/lawyers). This means that, if you instruct us to act in the administration of an estate, we will be able to register a death for you regardless of whether we are appointed as an Executor. This will help reduce the stress for you at such a difficult time.

If you have any questions about registering a death, or the probate process, please do get in touch.

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