Register a death

Register a death

Book an appointment to register a death and find out about the Tell Us Once service.

You can only register a death by phone

Check changes to Register Office services for more information about how to book a telephone appointment.

When to register a death

You must register a death within five days of it happening. This includes weekends and bank holidays. 

Before you book an appointment check with  the GP, hospital doctor or bereavement office that the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD)  has been sent to Bristol Register Office.

If the death has been reported to the coroner
If the death has been reported to the coroner, you won’t be able to register the death until the coroner has completed their investigation.

You can find out about when a death is reported to the coroner on GOV.UK and on the Avon Coroner website.

Who can register the death

You can register the death if:

  • you’re a relative
  • you were there at the time of death
  • you found the body
  • you’re an administrator at the hospital, hospice or care home where the person died
  • you’re in charge of making funeral arrangements

Where to register

You should register the death at the local register office for the area where the death happened. You can check which council covers the area where the death happened on GOV.UK.

Death happened in Bristol

You can register a death in the Bristol area  by phone.

Book a phone appointment

Out of hours
If you need to arrange a burial quickly due to cultural or religious reasons, call our out of hours service on 0117 922 2050. You must have the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) before you call us.

If the death has been reported to the coroner, you won’t be able to register the death until the coroner has completed their investigation.

If you can’t get to Bristol or Southmead Register Office
If you can’t register the death at Bristol Register Office, you can go to another register office in England or Wales and they’ll send the details to us. This is called making a declaration.

Find a register office on GOV.UK.

Once we have the details and have registered the death, you'll be able to buy copies of the death certificate at any time.

Death happened outside Bristol

In England or Wales
If the death happened in England or Wales, but outside Bristol and you can’t get to the nearest register office to register the death, you can  normally book an appointment at one of our register offices. We’ll take all the details of the death and pass them onto the right office. This is called ‘making a declaration’.

Call us on 0117 922 2800 to make an appointment.

Outside England or Wales
If the death happened:

What to bring to the appointment

You must bring the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) and if you have it:

  • the birth certificate, passport and driving licence for the person who died
  • their council tax bill
  • their Blue Badge, if they had one
  • their marriage or civil partnership certificate, if any

What information we need to know

We’ll need this information about the person who died, if you have it:

  • their full name and any previous names
  • their job
  • their address
  • their NHS number
  • date and place of birth
  • date and place of death
  • details of any benefits or entitlements they were getting, such as State Pension
  • the full name, job and date of birth of their spouse or partner if they were married or in a civil partnership

We’ll also need your name and address.

What documents you’ll get

The registrar will keep the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) and give you a:

  • Certificate for Burial or Cremation, sometimes called the green form, which will allow you to arrange the burial or cremation
  • form to send to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) so they can deal with the person’s pension and other benefits

You’ll also be able to buy death certificates which you’ll need when you tell organisations, such as banks or insurance companies, that the person has died. Certificates cost £11 each.

Once the death has been registered, you can buy copies of the death certificate at any time.

Correcting a mistake on a death certificate

When registering a death, you must check the register page carefully and tell the registrar about anything that’s incorrect.

If you notice a mistake after your appointment, we might not be able to correct it. If we can correct it, you’ll be charged a fee of £75 or £90, depending on what needs to be changed.

Tell Us Once service

The Tell Us Once service on GOV.UK lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go. We’ll give you a reference number when you register the death so you can use the service.