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Register a death

A death should normally be registered within 5 calendar days (including weekends and bank holidays).

Who can register a death

Please make sure that the person nearest to the top of the list registers the 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

To complete a death registration you must attend one of our registration offices.

What you need to know before the appointment

The attending GP will normally send the medical certificate of cause of death directly to us. However, if you’ve received the medical certificate of cause of death, 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 death certificate.

During the appointment

If you are registering the death, you must be able to provide us with correct personal information about the deceased.

The accuracy of the registration can be improved by taking some extra identification documents for the deceased. These documents are not necessary, however they are useful. 

Examples include:

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

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

Please have the following information ready for your appointment with 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 of birth 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 the hospital or 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.

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. Tell Us Once saves the person registering the death from informing the government departments individually.

It allows you to inform all relevant central and local government departments (DVLA, Passport Services, HMRC etc) about the person who has died by phone or online.

Find out more about Tell Us Once.

Things to consider

Important extra details to consider may include:

Further information

Last updated 21 March 2024