Registering a death

Find information to help you register a death and book an appointment online.

At this distressing time we aim to guide you as easily as possible through the process of registering a death.

When you visit a register office, the registrar will see you privately to ask for details about the person who has died. It is very important that the information registered is accurate because the register entry is a legal record and difficult to correct at a later date.

When to register a death

A death must normally be registered within five days, unless the coroner is conducting an investigation when the timescale can be extended.

The registrar can also provide an additional service called tell us once which can be used immediately after the registration of the death. This service will inform other government departments and local council services who need to be told of the death.

Book an appointment to register a death

Please book an appointment before visiting the office and ensure you will have documents from the doctor or that the coroner has sent documents to our office before you make a booking. The appointment will take about 30 minutes.

You can use our online booking system 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Book appointment

Frequently asked questions

Many deaths are now referred to the coroner. In these cases the death cannot be registered until the coroner agrees.

If there is no inquest

The coroner will notify the registrar that the death can now be registered. The coroner's office should tell you if a medical certificate of cause of death is also needed from the doctor. You can then make an appointment to register the death, but the registration cannot take place until the registrar has received the information from the coroner.

If an inquest is to be held

Before the inquest is held, the coroner may offer you an interim certificate (coroner's certificate of the fact of death) to help you with the deceased's estate. You cannot register the death with this certificate but it can be used to access the tell us once service. In this instance, please phone us to book an appointment at the register office and request a tell us once 20-minute appointment, not a registration appointment.

The coroner will send a form to the registrar after the inquest is complete. The registrar will then register the death based on the coroner's findings. You do not needing to visit our office for this to occur. However, you will need to contact the register office if you need copies of the death certificate.

In England and Wales the death must be registered at the register office in the area where the death occurred.

If the person died in North Yorkshire:

If the death occurred outside North Yorkshire:

  • You can travel to the register office in the area where the death occurred to register the death in person. In this case you would need to contact the other register office directly.
  • You can attend any register office in North Yorkshire to give us the details for the register entry and we will post this information to the register office in the area where the death occurred. This will cause a short delay in getting your certificates and relevant paperwork.

Only certain people are allowed by law to register a death. These include:

  • a relative;
  • someone who was present at the death;
  • someone who lived in the house where the person died;
  • someone who is responsible for arranging the funeral (not the funeral director); or
  • a responsible person from the hospital or nursing/residential home where the person died.

You will need to provide the following details about the person:

  • full name;
  • date and place of death;
  • any other names they may have been known by, such as maiden name or name changed by Deed Poll;
  • date and place (town and county) of birth;
  • what their occupation was and whether they were retired;
  • their usual address;
  • full name and occupation of any spouse, whether they are living or not; and
  • NHS number if possible.

You will need to provide your:

  • full name and address; and
  • relationship to the deceased or why you are able to register.

You should bring the following to your appointment:

  • medical certificate of cause of death issued by a doctor (if the death has been referred to the coroner, the coroner's office will advise you);
  • supporting documents to confirm details given about the person who has died, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport or medical card;
  • a reference number, if possible, for any government pension the person who has died was receiving;
  • any North Yorkshire cards or passes, such as a blue badge, library card or bus pass, for the person who has died and we can return these for you;
  • supporting documents about yourself showing your name and address, such as a passport, driving licence or utility bill;
  • extra documents if you choose the tell us once service;
  • method of payment for any certificates purchased; and
  • an interpreter if applicable.

If you cannot produce supporting documents to confirm details given about the person who has died or yourself, this will not prevent the registration going ahead. 

You will be able to buy (no copy is issued free of charge) death certificates which will be needed to help with the finances of the person who has died. You will need to show them to banks, building societies, insurance companies and other organisations.

You will also be given a free green form for the funeral director (unless the coroner has already issued one) and a white form (BD8) for the Department for Work & Pensions.

If the person who has died was receiving a pension from certain public funds, such as from working in civil service, as a teacher or at a post office, the registrar will advise the relevant organisation directly.

All our offices accept payment by debit and credit card. If you wish to pay by cash, please bring the exact money as we may not be able to offer change.

You can't change a death certificate once it's been issued, but you can apply to add a note to the original entry in the death register. You can then get an updated certificate issued that shows the note of correction. This can sometimes be a lengthy process which may delay sorting out the deceased's estate. Application forms to correct a death registration are available from this GOV.UK web page.

From 1 November 2017 there is a charge for this service. Please see our fees page for further details.

Probate is a term commonly used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person's affairs (called administering the estate). Further information on probate is available from this GOV.UK web page.

Personal information which you are required by law to provide for a registration will be kept by the relevant local registration officer. The officer will also send a copy of this information to the General Register Office for England and Wales so a central registration record can be maintained.

A copy of any register entry will be provided to any applicant, provided they supply enough information to identify the entry and pay the appropriate fee. The copy may only be issued as a paper certified copy, which you can apply for through either the local register office or the General Register Office.

The General Register Office makes indexes, for the central record of registrations, publicly available in order to help members of the public identify the registration they might need. The register office also makes a local index available for this purpose.

The local register office may also choose to make information in local indexes available online to help people identify the registration they might need. Any information placed online is done in compliance with the Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act.

Additionally, confidential information for statistical purposes which you are required by law to give to the local registration officer, and other information provided voluntarily, will be passed to the UK Statistics Authority for the preparation and supply of statistics.

As well as providing certificates, local registration officers and the General Register Office may make registration information available to other organisations for:

  • statistical or research purposes;
  • administrative purposes by official bodies, such as to ensure records are accurate; and
  • fraud prevention or detection, immigration and passport purposes.

For further information on data held by the Registrar General see this GOV.UK web page.

Staff at a local registration office can provide further information on data held by the registration service.