How to register a death

Bereavement is a time when a family and close friends are probably suffering from shock and emotional stress; so seeking immediate professional advice can often be a comfort

Registering a death

A death must be registered within 5 days of it’s occurrence. This period may be extended in exceptional circumstances and if the Coroner is involved. The registration must take place in the district where the death happened.

Who can register a death?

A death can be registered by:

  • A relative of the deceased
  • Someone present at the death
  • The occupier of the premises where the death occurred, if he or she knew of the death
  • Another person living at the house, if he or she knew of the death
  • The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors

How to register

Please make an appointment with the Registration Office in the district where the death occurred.

(see Registration Offices)

What information will you need?

You will be asked for the following information:

  • Date and place of death
  • Name and surname of the deceased and any other names he/she have been known by
  • Maiden surname (for married women)
  • Date and place of birth
  • Last occupation
  • Name and occupation of spouse or civil partner
  • Usual address
  • Whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds
  • If the deceased was married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of the surviving widow/widower/civil partner

You will need to take the medical certificate issued by the doctor, stating the cause of death.

To ensure accuracy and reduce the need for corrections it may be helpful to bring the following documents to the registration:

The deceased person’s:

  • Passport
  • Medical card
  • Proof of address (e.g. utility bill)
  • All marriage/civil partnership certificates
  • Birth certificate
  • Deed poll or statutory declaration if appropriate


  • Passport
  • Driving licence if held
  • Proof of address (e.g. utility bill)

The absence of supporting documents will not prevent registration.

The registrar will issue a certificate for burial or cremation, in some cases a document may be issued by the coroner. This is normally passed to the funeral director by the relative making the arrangements. A certificate for sending to the Department of Social Security will also be issued by the registrar. The form gives details of the death and an application for applicable claims.

Where the coroner is involved a different procedure may apply.

Death certificates

After a death has been registered, one or more certificates may be bought at the same time of registration at a cost of £11 each. If copies of the death certificate are required after the registration we can advise you on the fees.

You will need these copies for banks, insurance companies etc, and to administer the estate of the person who has died.

Tell us once

When someone has died the Tell us Once service can help you tell the people who need to know. There are lots of things that need to be done, at a time when you probably least feel like doing them. One of these is contacting government departments and local council services that need to be told.

When you make an appointement to register the death we will give you more information about the Tell us Once service and how you can use it. The service is usually provided at the same time as registering the death.