How to register a child’s death or stillbirth
How to register a child’s death, who to notify and what to do next
It's the unthinkable scenario that every parent wishes will never happen to them. In such tragic circumstances, here are the steps to take...

Registering a death

The devastating loss of a baby or child needs to be registered with a Registrar by law so that records can be updated and benefits altered accordingly. It's a lot to think about when you are numb with shock and grief, but a Registrar can support/help guide you through. The death must be registered within five days (eight days in Scotland) of it happening.

Informing Child Benefit

The Child Benefit Office will also need to be informed. Child Benefit will usually continue for a further eight weeks from the time of death.

If a newborn baby dies then you are entitled to up to eight weeks of Child Benefit, so long as you claim within three months of the death.

You still qualify for maternity or paternity leave if your baby dies after being born.

Parental bereavement leave, pay and tax credits

If your child is under 18, and if you are in employment, you may be eligible for Parental Bereavement Leave.

This is two weeks' leave taken together or two weeks' leave taken as separate weeks or just a single week is taken. A week is the same number of days you usually work, e.g., a week would be two days if you just worked Thursday and Friday.

In the case of a newborn death, parents can take Bereavement Leave after the maternity or paternity leave has ended.

Statutory Bereavement Pay

Check with your employer if you qualify for Statutory Bereavement Pay. You will receive either 90 percent of your average weekly earnings or £156.66, whichever is the lowest.

Tax credits

You must also contact HM Revenue and Customs within one month of a child's death if you are receiving tax credits. If HMRC is not informed, this could lead to overpayments which you will then have to pay back, or alternatively you may not receive all the money that you are owed. As with Child Benefit, you can continue to get tax credits up to eight weeks after a death. If there is a Child Trust Fund account any money from that account, including any payments from the Government, will go to whoever inherits the child’s estate.

Registering a stillbirth

The rules for registering a stillbirth are different. Parents have 42 days to do this from the day of the stillbirth and you can register your baby by their name.

If the parents are not in a legal relationship, then it is the mother who registers the death.

If the mother does want the father to register the death when they are not married or in a civil partnership, then she must sign a statutory Declaration of Parentage form. A registrar can advise how to do this.

A registrar can also advise on which documents to bring, such as a certification of a stillbirth from a doctor.

If the baby was conceived through fertility treatment, then either the mother can make the registration, or the father or second female mother can do so, again if they were married or in a civil partnership with the birth mother at the time of treatment.

As with an infant death, parents can still take maternity and paternity leave and then parental bereavement leave if they are employed. Remember to check if you qualify for maternity allowance (if you are self-employed or recently stopped working) and parental bereavement pay.

SANDS is a charity which supports anyone affected by the death of a baby. Call 0808 164 3332, email or visit the website: