After someone has died, one of the first things that must be done is to legally register the death with our Registration Service.
In most circumstances it is a legal requirement for deaths to be registered within 5 working days. Deaths are usually registered by a relative of the deceased person.
If the death occurred in Somerset, you can register at any of our offices.
Appointments to register a death are normally allocated 45 minutes.
If the death occurred outside 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.
In some circumstances the death will have been reported to the coroner. The registrar must receive documents from the coroner before the death can be registered.
You should only make provisional arrangements for a funeral until authority for the funeral has been issued, either by a registrar or the coroner.
You can book an appointment to register a death online. If you would like confirmation of your booking, you must give us a valid email address.
Book an appointment now
You will be given a private appointment with the registrar. If you wish to tell us about other government services that the deceased used, please see our information below about the free Tell Us Once service.
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 deceased person's NHS medical card.
After checking the medical certificate of cause of death and your relationship to the deceased, the registrar will then ask you for 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
- Their National insurance number
- Last occupation of the deceased
- The usual address of the deceased
- Their driving licence or driving licence number (if they held one)
- Their passport (if they had one)
- Whether the deceased received any pension or benefits from public funds
- Name and last occupation of the deceased's spouse (if married or widowed)
- 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.
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.
If the death occurred in a house, hospital or care home and there are no relatives available to do the registration, the registrar would normally allow one of the following people to register (in order of preference).
- Someone present at the death
- An occupant of the house or official from the hospital where the death occurred.
- The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.
If the death occurred somewhere else and there are no relatives available to do the registration, the registrar would normally accept one of the following people 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
There is no charge for registering a death or to use the Tell Us Once service.
The registrar will give you a form (a green form) authorising the burial or cremation (unless this has already been issued by the coroner). They will also give you a form, which you can use to notify the Department for Work and Pensions if you have chosen not to use our free service to inform them on your behalf.
You will be able to buy as many copies of the death certificate as you need. Each certificate will cost £11.
The number of certificates you need to buy will depend on the number of organisations that need to be informed about the death. Banks, building societies, pension and life insurance companies will all usually ask to see a death certificate.
Please note - There will be a non-refundable fee for any correction requested to the registration. We cannot guarantee that the correction will be authorised. The fee will be £75 - in some circumstances this fee will increase to £90 if the correction needs to be authorised by the General Register Office. Therefore, it is very important that you check the document carefully at the registration appointment.
Tell Us Once
At the end of the appointment we provide a free, simple and sensitive service called Tell Us Once, which can securely pass information about a death directly to other public sector organisations. This should take away the need for you to contact each of these services separately at a time when you least feel like doing so. You can find more information about the Tell Us Once service in our Tell Us Once information sheet.
The service can be used by the next of kin, the person dealing with the deceased's estate or someone with the permission of these people.
Documents you should bring to confirm your name and address:
- Driving Licence
- Proof of address
If you wish to give us this information, you must bring as many of the following documents belonging to the deceased person as possible to the appointment.
- Driving Licence
- National Insurance Number
- Blue Badge
- Concessionary bus pass
- Public sector pensions details
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 phone service at a later date. The registrar will give you a unique reference number and details of who to call.
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.
All the organisations 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.
The organisations and services we contact include
- Adult Social Care
- Blue badges
- Children's services
- Collection of payment for council services
- Council tax
- Council tax benefit
- Electoral services
- Housing benefits
- Concessionary travel
- Certain public sector pensions
- Local authority pension
Identity and Passport Service
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
- Driving licence cancellation
Department for Work and Pensions
- Pension, disability and carers service
- Overseas health team
Ministry of Defence, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency
HM Revenue and Customs
- Child benefit
- Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
- Personal taxation
This list is subject to change and you can find the most updated list on the GOV.UK bereavementwebsite.
Contact details and opening times of our Register Office and all our Registration Offices