Register a Death
You can find out about how to register a death here. It is a legal requirement for every death to be registered within 5 days.
How do I use it?
If the death occurred in Somerset, you can register at any of our offices.
In most cases all you need to take is the medical certificate of cause of death which was issued by the doctor treating the person who has died. If possible you should take the NHS medical card for the deceased person. In some circumstances the death will have been reported to the Coroner. The registrar will need to receive documents from the coroner before the death can be registered. If the death occurred outside of Somerset, it will need to be registered at the Register Office for the District in which the death occurred. If you cannot get there, you can register the death ‘by declaration’ at any Register Office in England and Wales. This means that the details you give to the Registrar will be sent to the correct District to be registered. You should only make provisional arrangements for a funeral until the authority for the funeral has been issued, either by a Registrar or the Coroner.
After the death registration has been completed, you may also like to tell us about the Council/Government services that the deceased used so that we can cancel these services on your behalf. If you wish to give us this information, you will need to bring as many of the following documents as possible with you to the appointment:
- Driving Licence
- National Insurance Number
- Blue Badge
If you do not have this information handy, or you do not wish to provide this information during the registration appointment, you can choose to use a dedicated telephone service at a later date. The registrar will provide you with a unique reference number and details of who to call.
Documents required that will confirm your name and address:
- Driving Licence
- Proof of address
What is covered?
After checking the medical certificate of cause of death and your relationship to the deceased, the Registrar will then need to ask you the following information:
- Date and place of death
- Name, surname and maiden name (if applicable) of the deceased
- The deceased’s date and place of birth
- Last occupation of the deceased
- Name and last occupation of the deceased’s spouse (if married or widowed)
- The usual address of the deceased
- Whether the deceased received any pension or benefits from public funds
- If the deceased was still married, the date of birth of the surviving spouse.
The full name and address of the person making the registration will also be added to the register.
Tell Us Once
Once the death has been registered you will be offered the opportunity to give us some further information about the deceased so that we can cancel any Government or council services and/or payments on your behalf. This service is called ‘Tell Us Once’.
Tell us Once allows you to inform a range of council and central government services about a birth or death with just one contact. This free service offers a solution to the frustration at having to individually notify numerous government organisations at what can often be a very difficult time.
When you have your appointment to register the death with the Registrar, we ask you bring the following information about the deceased:
- Date of birth
- National insurance number
- Details of any government benefits or council services they were receiving.
- Their driving licence or driving licence number (if they held one)
- Their passport (if they had one)
We may also ask for information about the next of kin and the person dealing with the deceased’s estate. You must get the agreement of these people if you are going to provide us with information about them.
What happens next?
All of the organisations that we contact will use the information to update their records within 15 days. We treat all your information securely, sensitively and in accordance with the law.
As part of the Tell Us Once service we are able to securely pass information onto a range of partner organisations, including:
- Council Services:
- Council Tax Payments
- Council Tax Benefits
- Council Housing
- Housing Benefits Libraries
- Blue Badges
- Adult Social Care
- Children’s Services
- Collection of payments for Council Services
- Electoral services
- Identity and Passport Service:
- Passport Cancellation.
- Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency:
- Driving Licence Cancellation.
- Department for Work and Pensions:
- Pension, Disability and Carers Service
- Jobcentre Plus
- Overseas Health Team
- Ministry of Defence, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency:
- War Pensions Scheme
- HM Revenue and Customs:
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
- Personal Taxation
If you are registering a death and the deceased person lived outside of Somerset we will advise you at your appointment if we are able to provide information to their local council.
Who can use it?
Most deaths are registered by a relative of the deceased
If the death occurred in a house, hospital or elderly people home and there are no relatives available to do the registration, the Registrar would normally allow one of the following to register (in order of preference):
- Someone present at the death
- An occupant of the house/official from the hospital in which the death occurred.
- The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.
If the death occurred elsewhere and there are no relatives available to do the registration, the registrar would normally accept one of the following to register:
- Someone present at the death
- The person who found the body
- The person in charge of the body
- The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors
If you want to use the ‘Tell Us Once’ service, you must be either:
- the next of kin, or
- the person dealing with the deceased’s estate, or
- a person with the permission from either of the above.
If the deceased person lived outside of Somerset we will advise you at your appointment if government services within their local area are part of this notification service.
How long does it take?
You will be given a private appointment with the Registrar and the registration will take around 30 minutes. If you wish to tell us about other government services that the deceased used (benefits, blue badge etc), please allow an additional 15 minutes for your appointment.
How much does it cost?
There is no charge for registering the death or to use the ‘Tell Us Once’ service which allows us to cancel/inform other Government or council services on your behalf.
You will receive a form (a green form) authorising the burial or cremation (unless this has already been issued by the coroner). You will also receive a form which you can use to notify the Department of Work and Pensions if you have chosen not to use our free service to inform them on your behalf.
You will be able to purchase as many copies of the Death Certificate that you require. Each certificate will cost £4 at the time of registration. After this, the fee increases to £7 each and once the register is archived, £10 each.
The number of certificates you need to buy will depend on the number of organisations that need to be informed of the death. Banks, building societies, pension and life insurance companies will all usually request to see a death certificate.