After someone has died, one of the first things that must be done is to legally register the death with the Council's Registration Service.
It is a legal requirement for every death to be registered within 5 working days. Most deaths are registered by a relative of the deceased.
You can book online for an appointment to register a death. You can find all the information you need to know before your appointment here.
If you would like a confirmation of your booking, you will need to give us a valid email address.
You can find out about how to register a death here. You can also use our Tell Us Once service to securely pass information about a death onto a range of other public sector organisations.
If the death occurred in Somerset, you can register at any of our offices.
In most cases all you need to take is the medical certificate of cause of death which was issued by the doctor treating the person who has died. If possible you should take the NHS medical card for the deceased person.
In some circumstances the death will have been reported to the coroner. The registrar will need to receive documents from the coroner before the death can be registered.
If the death occurred outside Somerset, it will need to 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. You should only make provisional arrangements for a funeral until authority for the funeral has been issued, either by a registrar or the coroner.
After the death registration has been completed, you may also like to tell us about the council and government services that the deceased used so that we can cancel these services on your behalf. If you wish to give us this information, you will need to bring as many of the following documents belonging to the deceased person as possible with you to the appointment:
- Driving Licence
- National Insurance Number
- Blue Badge
- Concessionary bus pass
- Public sector pensions
If you do not have this information handy, or you do not wish to provide this information during the registration appointment, you can choose to use a dedicated telephone service at a later date. The registrar will provide you with a unique reference number and details of who to call.
Documents required that will confirm your name and address:
- Driving Licence
- Proof of address
If the death occurred in a house, hospital or elderly people's home and there are no relatives available to do the registration, the registrar would normally allow one of the following to register (in order of preference):
- Someone present at the death
- An occupant of the house/official from the hospital in which the death occurred.
- The person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.
If the death occurred elsewhere and there are no relatives available to do the registration, the registrar would normally accept one of the following 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
If you want to use the Tell Us Once service, you must be either:
- the next of kin, or
- the person dealing with the deceased's estate, or
- a person with the permission from either of the above.
You can find further information about the Tell Us Once service on the information sheet in the information and resources section.
If the deceased person lived outside of Somerset we will advise you at your appointment if government services within their local area are part of this notification service.
What is covered?
After checking the medical certificate of cause of death and your relationship to the deceased, the registrar will then need to ask you the following information:
- 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
- Name and last occupation of the deceased's spouse (if married or widowed)
- The usual address of the deceased
- Whether the deceased received any pension or benefits from public funds
- 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.
At the end of the appointment we offer you the opportunity for information about the deceased to be passed onto other relevant government services. This should take away the need for you to contact each of these services individually. For more information about the Tell Us Once service please see the information sheet in information and resources section.
How long does it take?
You will be given a private appointment with the registrar and the registration will take around 30 minutes. If you wish to tell us about other government services that the deceased used (for example, benefits, blue badge), please allow an additional 15 minutes for your appointment.
How much does it cost?
There is no charge for registering the death or to use the Tell Us Once service which allows us to cancel/inform other government or council services on your behalf.
You will receive a form (a green form) authorising the burial or cremation (unless this has already been issued by the coroner). You will also receive 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 purchase as many copies of the death certificate that you require. Each certificate will cost £4 at the time of registration. After this, the fee increases to £7 each and once the register is archived, £10 each.
The number of certificates you need to buy will depend on the number of organisations that need to be informed of the death. Banks, building societies, pension and life insurance companies will all usually request to see a death certificate.
Please note any correction requested to the registration will be subject to a non-refundable fee for consideration of the correction. We cannot guarantee that the correction will be authorised. The fee payable to the Local Registration Authority will be £75.00, in certain circumstances this fee will increase to £90.00 if the correction needs to be authorised by the General Register Office. Therefore, it is very important that the document is checked carefully at the point of registration.
Tell Us Once
Somerset's Registration Service provides a free, simple and sensitive service Tell Us Once which can securely pass information about a death directly onto a range of public sector organisations.
Tell Us Once allows you to inform a range of council and central government services about a death with just one contact. This free service offers a solution to the frustration at having to individually notify numerous government organisations at what can often be a very difficult time.
The service can be used by the next of kin, the person dealing with the deceased's estate or a person with the permission from these people can use this service.
When you have your appointment to register the death with the registrar, we ask you bring the following information about the deceased:
- Date of birth
- National insurance number
- Details of any government benefits or council services they were receiving.
- Their driving licence or driving licence number (if they held one)
- Their passport (if they had one)
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.
You can find more information about this service in the 'Tell Us Once Information Sheet' in the Information and resources section.
All of the organisations that we contact will use the information to update their records within 15 days. We treat all your information securely, sensitively and in accordance with the law.
As part of the Tell Us Once service we are able to securely pass information onto a range of partner organisations, including:
- Adult Social Care
- Blue badges
- Children's services
- Collection of payment for council services
- Council tax
- Council tax benefit
- Electoral services
- Housing benefits
- Concessionary travel
- Certain public sector pensions
- Local authority pension
Identity and Passport Service:
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency:
- Driving licence cancellation
Department for Work and Pensions:
- Pension, disability and carers service
- Overseas health team
Ministry of Defence, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency:
HM Revenue and Customs:
- Child benefit
- Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
- Personal taxation
This list is subject to change and the most updated list is held on the GOV.UK bereavementwebsite.
If you are registering a death and the deceased person lived outside of Somerset, we will advise you at your appointment if we are able to provide information to their local council.
This service is offered as part of the registration process. Appointments to register a death are normally allocated 45 minutes.
This service is entirely free of charge
This service is available at all Registration Offices across Somerset. We will offer this service to you when you make your appointment with the registrar.
Contact details and opening times of our Register Office and all our Registration Offices