Date Tags death / Law

The law forbids the sharing of information about trans people without their express consent. This may create difficulties obtaining the details of a trans person, and keeping the details secure, if they or a family member has died.

1 Bereavement

A bereavement is a traumatic process for anyone, but as a trans person it may bring specific issues with it. Some trans people become estranged from family members and it may be very difficult to be in contact with them again, particularly if they don't accept you in your acquired gender. The member of your family who died may have never known you in your preferred gender. This may cause added distress and feelings of regret or anger.

For some trans people, the event of a death could be an opportunity to regain contact with family members. Sometimes, under exceptional circumstances, people gain a sense of perspective of what is important in life and may realise the importance of family. People respond to bereavement in different, and sometimes unpredictable, ways.

There are different stages for bereavement and they do not happen in the same order for everyone.

2 Dealing with the death of a trans family member

If you were caring for a trans family member who has died, you may feel a range of emotions depending on the circumstances of their death. You may:

  • have been the only family member who knew that they were trans
  • have felt unable to deal with their identity
  • have only known them in their new gender for a short period of time
  • have only just discovered that they were trans upon their death
  • feel that when they changed their gender you went through a type of bereavement and now you have to go through another one
  • feel anger towards them for what they have put you through
  • feel guilt or regret that you could have done more for them

If you are having difficulty coming to terms with these issues, it might be a good idea to contact one of the trans support organisations. It also might help to talk to some of the trans friends of the deceased, or those who were part of the network of people they knew.

3 Registering the death of a trans person

Registering the death of a trans person is done by the standard process.

However, problems may arise if you are not sure how to inform the registrar of the gender of a deceased trans person. Sometimes relatives register the death of the trans person in their birth gender, no matter how long a person has permanently lived in their preferred gender. If they had a gender recognition certificate, then their preferred gender should be stated when registering their death.

4 Errors in registering a trans death

If an error is made in registering a death, the law allows for details to be changed or added. Corrections should be arranged with the office where the death was registered, although the paperwork will need to be sent for authorisation to the Corrections and Re-registration Section at the General Register Office.

You can contact the General Register Office on 0300 123 1837 or write to: General Register Office, PO Box 2, Southport, PR8 2JD.

Wherever possible, applications for corrections should be made by the person who gave the information for the registration. They will be asked to provide documentary evidence to prove an error was made at the time of the registration. There is no charge for authorising a correction.

5 Problems with wills

As a trans person, you may have concerns if you are named as a beneficiary in a will in your former name or as your former gender. For example, a father might state in his will, "I leave my two cars to my son", but the son has since become a woman.

If you have a gender recognition certificate or your original statutory declaration or deed poll documents for your change of name, there should not be a problem as they will include the change from your former name to your new one.





comments powered by Disqus