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Register a death

A death should normally be registered within 5 calendar days.

Who can register a death?

You can register a death if you:

  • are a relative of the deceased
  • were present at the death
  • live in the house where the person died
  • are an administrator from the hospital where the person died
  • are arranging the funeral with the funeral director

How to register a death

Book an appointment

Deaths must be registered within five days (including weekends) by the registration district, unless the Coroner is investigating. To complete a death registration you must attend one of our registration offices. 

What you need to know before the appointment

To enable us to complete the death registration we must have access to the medical certificate of cause of death certificate (MCCD). This certificate is issued by the attending GP.

All GPs have been instructed to email these directly to the Registration Service, they should not be issued to a family member or representative. However, if you’ve received the MCCD please ensure you bring this document to the appointment in the sealed envelope provided. 

Please note: we cannot complete the registration without access to the MCCD.

During the appointment

All personal information recorded during the registration must be provided and checked by the informant. 
The accuracy of the registration can be improved by having some extra identification documents with you, if they’re readily available, for example:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage/civil partnership certificate
  • passport
  • driving licence

The appointment will take approximately 30 minutes. There is no charge for registering a death.

You will need to tell the registrar:

  • the date and place of death
  • the full name the person who died was using at the time of their death and details of any other names they might have been known by
  • their date and place of birth
  • their occupation and whether or not they were retired
  • their current home address
  • if the person who died was a married woman or widow, her maiden surname (what her surname was before she was married) and the full name and occupation of her husband
  • in the case of a man, the name and occupation of his wife
  • in the case of a couple who have registered their civil partnership, the partner's name and occupation
  • your full name and address and your relationship to the person who has died

You will also be asked the following information for government statistics:

  • was the person who died single, married, widowed, divorced, a civil partner, surviving civil partner or former civil partner?
  • is their spouse or civil partner still alive? If so, what is their date of birth?
  • how long did they stay in hospital or in another establishment (a hospice for example)?
  • was the person under 75?
  • what industry did they work in and what position did they hold?
  • did they get a pension paid from government funds? This includes the civil service, teachers, armed forces and war widows. This does not include the state pension or pension credits
  • the person's NHS number found on their medical card (if available)

If the death happened in West Northamptonshire, but you can't attend an appointment here, you can give the details to any registrar in England and Wales.  This is called registration by declaration.

After the appointment the details will be sent to West Northamptonshire Registration Service, who will then register the death. Once completed you can order a certificate.

Sometimes mistakes can be made on a certificate we issue. It may be possible to correct the mistake, but we can only do so to registrations originally made in West Northamptonshire.

How much does it cost?

During your appointment the registrar will double-check all the information you've provided. It's your responsibility to confirm this is accurate (including all spellings, dates and addresses). When the registration is complete the register page becomes a legal document and cannot be altered without a statutory fee being incurred.

The fee to consider the correction application will be up to £90. Please note that consideration does not guarantee the correction application will be accepted.

How do I get it changed?

If you think information on a birth, death, marriage or civil partnership certificate is wrong, you will need to provide evidence from the time of the registration showing the correct information.

When you have collected the evidence you need to support your request for a correction, please email [email protected] and include:

  • your name, address, telephone number and email address
  • the name(s), date and type of certificate that you would like correcting
  • details of the correction to be made
  • details of the evidence that you will be submitting to support your request

Depending on the circumstances, the correction may or may not be simple to make, so we will contact you to discuss your case in more detail and explain what happens next.

We cannot accept correction applications for the section recording the deceased's cause of death.

Deaths reported to the coroner

Some deaths have to be reported to the coroner before:

  • the death can be registered at the registration office
  • the document allowing the funeral to go ahead can be issued

Tell Us Once service

Tell Us Once is a government service that will help you with your recent bereavement.

It allows you to inform all relevant central and local government departments about the person who has died by phone or online.

Find out more about Tell Us Once.

Further information

Last updated 25 March 2022