After someone has died, their death must be legally registered
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. Deaths are usually registered by a relative of the deceased person.
Please also see our Tell Us Once information about how you can use this service to inform other public services.
If the death took place in Somerset, you can register at any of our offices.
Appointments to register a death are normally allocated 45 minutes.
If the death took place outside 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.
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.
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, you will need to take the medical certificate of cause of death, which was issued by the doctor treating the person who has died.
This is the information we will need about the person who has died.
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).
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.
There is no charge for registering a death.
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.
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. See our Tell Us Once page to find out what the service does.
How to register a death information sheet
Tell Us Once information sheet
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