What to do
Information and guidance to help you
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 calendar days unless the death has been referred to the coroner. Deaths are usually registered by a relative of the deceased person.
We have created a guide to help you with practical information such as how to register a death, through to planning a funeral and information on bereavement and grief. There is also a section on further advice and support.
Thank you to those who have lost a loved one for helping us put this guide together.
If you would like to talk someone about your loss
Grieving is important to us all, and there is no one way to grieve. It often encompasses a wide range of emotions, including (but in no particular order) anger, despair, sadness, numb, relief, worry, anxiety, frustrated and fear.
If you would like to have someone to talk to about your loss, then please contact the Bereavement Support Partnership. They are there to help you through this difficult time.
Somerset Bereavement Support Partnership
Marie Curie Companions Service to provide one to one emotional and bereavement support for all. Additional specialist help will also be available if needed.
Please phone 0800 3047 412 – Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm
Face to face appointments
You will need to make an appointment to register a death, please phone 01823 282251.
Emergency COVID legislation ended on 25 March 2022, when we started face-to-face appointments again.
A Medical Certificate of Cause of Death will be completed by a doctor and sent electronically to the Registration Service rather than being issued in paper form to the next of kin. The doctor or hospital should let you know when this has been done.
The informant should then phone the Registration Service on 01823 282251 to arrange an appointment at one of our offices.
Once booked, an email will be sent to the informant confirming the address of the office you will attend, the time and date of the appointment, along with a checklist of the information that you will need to be prepared in advance. This information is also in the ’Your appointment and what you will need’ section of this page.
At your appointment you will be given a unique reference number to access the Tell Us Once service. This service allows you to notify a range of government agencies and departments about the death. Death certificates can be issued to the informant at a cost of £11 each. The ‘green form’ for the funeral will be sent electronically to the authority undertaking the burial or cremation, as well as the funeral director if requested.
Registration Service managers are working with key partner agencies such as the Coroner, funeral homes, doctors and Health Trusts to ensure a joined up approach. While the online appointment booking system is temporarily on hold, the service aims to have this available to the public again as soon as possible.
How to book
We administer death registrations in Somerset and North Somerset. If the death took place in Somerset, you can register at any of our Somerset offices. North Somerset deaths must be registered at Weston or Clevedon. Find details of all our offices here
If you need to make an appointment to register a death, please phone 01823 282251
Appointments to register a death are normally allocated 45 minutes.
If the death took place outside Somerset or North Somerset, it should 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.
Your appointment and what we will need
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.
Unless the coroner has ordered a post mortem, the doctor in attendance will produce the medical certificate of cause of death and forward it to our office by email. They should advise you when this has been completed.
This is the information we will need about the person who has died.
- 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
- The usual address of the deceased
- 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.
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.
The registrar will produce a form (a green form) authorising the burial or cremation (unless this has already been issued by the coroner) which will be sent electronically to the authority undertaking the burial or cremation, as well as the funeral director if requested.
They will 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.
There is no charge for registering a death.
You will be able to buy as many copies of the death certificate as you need. Each certificate will cost £11.
All our offices can accept card payments. We advise bringing physical cards rather than relying on contactless phone apps as there can be occasional issues with that technology.
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
After registering a death, you can use the Tell us Once service to notify several different local government agencies all at once.
Once the death is registered the registrar will issue you with a Tell Us Once unique reference number. You can then use this number to access the service either online or by phone which will notify most local and national government departments about the death.
You can use this service for 28 days after registering the death.
See our Tell Us Once page to find out what the service does.