How to register a death

You must register a death before you start the process of applying for probate, notifying financial institutions or arranging a funeral. You must register the death with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages at the local authority offices where death happened.

Register the death within 5 days if you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or within 8 days if you are in Scotland.

You can contact the Registrar online by searching the local authority website and arranging an appointment. This appointment may either be face-to-face at their offices, or by telephone. These appointments usually take between 30 minutes to one hour.

You can register the death if you are an executor in the will, a relative, if you were present at the death, or if you are arranging the funeral.

What do I need to take to an appointment?

You need the following information with you at the appointment to register the death:

Deceased’s details

  • Full name, including any previous names used, e.g. maiden name;
  • Date and place of birth;
  • Usual address;
  • Occupation;
  • Date of death;
  • Location of death;
  • Marital status;
  • Whether they were in receipt of State Pension of other benefits.

Spouse or civil partner details (whether they are alive or deceased)

  • Full name;
  • Date of birth;
  • Occupation.

Documents required to register a death

  • Medical cause of death certificate;
  • Deceased’s birth and marriage/civil partnership certificates;
  • Deceased’s ID and proof of address e.g. passport/driving licence/utility bills/council tax bill/change of name documents;
  • Deceased’s NHS medical card;
  • Your own ID and proof of address;

If you do not have all the deceased’s documents, you can still attend your appointment and the death may still be able to be registered.

What happens next?

After your appointment, you will be issued with a Death Certificate and the Certificate for Burial or Cremation.

You should take these documents to the funeral directors so that the funeral can take place.

If the death is being investigated by the Coroner, you will instead receive an interim death certificate so that you can still proceed with the funeral.

How many Death Certificates should I order?

The current cost of an Official Copy Death Certificate in England and Wales is £11 per certificate. You are likely to require several copies of the certificate to deal with your loved one’s estate, and it may be worth ordering a few copies at the appointment.

You should order at least 5 death certificates or more if the estate is more complicated.

If you choose to order extra copies at a later date, the price is slightly higher.

What is the Tell Us Once service?

This is a free service which is offered to you by the Registrar at your appointment to register the death. This service notifies a wide range of government departments of the death, all at the same time. It saves you a great deal of time and stress in having to notify each of the departments individually.

A full list of the departments which will be contacted under the Tell Us Once service can be found by visiting the Government website.

If you do not use the Tell Us Once service, you will need to contact each department yourself. They will not be notified automatically from any other service.

Other Useful Guides

Arranging a funeral