Register a death
Information about registering a death.
You must attend the register office to register a death.
Telephone 03000 266 000 to make an appointment.
Do I have to register a death?
Yes - this should be done within five days of the death unless a coroner is conducting an investigation.
Where do I register a death?
If the death occurs in County Durham, you can register with any of our registration offices.
If the death occurs outside of County Durham, we can take the details of the death (a declaration), but have to pass your information on to the place where the death occurred. Registering a death outside the area where it occurred will result in a delay in you receiving the death certificate and could possibly delay the funeral.
If the death occurs abroad, or on a foreign ship or aircraft, you should register the death according to the local regulations of that country and get a Death Certificate. Also register the death with the British Consul so that a record of the death will be kept in England. Depending upon the circumstances of the death, or if the information about the death abroad is incomplete, this may have to be reported to a coroner in the same way as if the death occurred in England or Wales.
Who can register a death?
One of the following persons has a legal obligation to register the death:
- a relative of the deceased
- a person present at the death
- a person arranging the funeral (not the undertaker)
- in certain circumstances others people, such as the manager of a care home
What do I need to register a death?
You will need to bring the medical certificate of cause of death that was written by the doctor who has attended the death. Please do not open the envelope to read the certificate as this is for the registrar only.
If the death has been referred to a coroner, the coroner's officer will advise you what to do.
You will need to bring supporting documents to confirm the details of the deceased (eg passport, driving licence, birth certificate, marriage/civil partnership certificate, council tax bill, NHS medical card, change of name deed) and also some form of ID to confirm your details, and to prove your identity as the informant (eg passport, driving licence, council tax bill).
How much does it cost?
Registering the death is free but any certificates required are available for a fee.
What will I get from the Registrar?
You will be given a form for the undertaker, and a form for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about state pensions and benefits. Any certificates you require are available for a fee.
You can also tell central government departments about a death in one go using the Gov.uk: tell us once service. Find out more from Gov.uk on Youtube: reporting a death using the Tell Us Once service.
If the death took place overseas, you will be able to get a copy of the Death Certificate from the Overseas Registration section of the General Register Office:
Overseas Registration Section
Fees for a death certificate
After a death has been registered, one or more certificates may be purchased at the time of registration or at any time afterwards.
Benefits available after a death
The time after a death is the worst time to have to deal with leaflets and forms. Benefits available after a death tells you about benefits you might be able to claim and how any benefits you already receive could be affected.