Registering a death

Covid-19 update

A death (unless the coroner is involved) is required by law to be registered within 5 full days of death. Day 1 is the day following the death.

Under the Births and Deaths Registration Act of 1953 the death needs to be registered in the Registration District where it occurred ie. for Darlington meaning the administrative area of Darlington Borough Council, can be registered at Darlington Register Office.

If the coroner is involved then he will advise you of the process. Information about the coroner[external link]

From Monday, 30th March death registrations are by a pre-arranged telephone appointment with the Register Office.

  • You do not need to attend the Register Office in person. The death will be registered by a telephone interview with the Registrar.
  • The death can only be registered in the district where it occurs, we can only register a death that has occurred in Darlington.
  • The person registering the death needs to be either a spouse, child or close relative of the deceased. If that person is not available to register the death because of illness or self isolation then you should contact the register office for advice on who can register the death.
  • When making an appointment you must:
    • Telephone the Register Office on 01325 406 400 to make the appointment.
    • You do not need to collect the medical certificate cause of death from the hospital or doctors surgery. The certificate will be emailed to us ready for your telephone appointment.
    • Take the first appointment given to you as we are busier than usual at this time. If you cannot make the appointment that you are given then you must let us know as soon as possible.
    • When making the appointment you will be told what you will need to know and what to bring with you
  • At the telephone appointment the Registrar will:
    • Ask you questions about the deceased and register the death on the telephone without you attending the Register Office.
    • Take a card payment for any death certificates that you need and post them to you. You will need your debit or credit card ready as part of the appointment. Please note that whilst our post leaves the register office by 1st class post each day current postal delivery services may result in you receiving your certificates later than scheduled and royal mail delivery services are beyond our control.
    • Tell you about the paperwork that will be issued for the burial or cremation.
    • Advise you about the Tell us Once Service.
    • Be able to signpost you to other services you might be able to help you.

Coronavirus/Covid-19 has been designated as a naturally occurring disease meaning that if the medical certificate that the doctor completes is all correct then the coroner will not be involved in cases of Coronavirus/Covid-19. The Coroner will only be involved if the medical certificate from the doctor is not correctly completed or there are other causes of death which are not naturally occurring.

The Register Office understands the challenges following a bereavement and is here to help and advise you following a bereavement, please do not hesitate to ask.

We will update this information if any of these arrangements change.

Information on Cemeteries and Crematorium

You can find information on bereavement support on the COVID-19 Health and Wellbeing page.

Registering a death in Darlington

The following information will help you prepare for your telephone appointment to register a death.

Making an appointment

  • You should ring the Register Office on 01325 406 400 to make an appointment to register the death.
  • You will not need to collect the medical certificate cause of death from the hospital or doctor. The Register Office will have that ready for your appointment.
  • Your appointment will be a telephone appointment. You do not need to attend the Register Office in person.

Who should do the telephone appointment

  • The person registering the death needs to be either a spouse, child or close relative of the deceased. If that person is not available to register the death because of illness or self isolation then you should contact the register office for advice on who can register the death.
  • At the telephone appointment the Registrar will:
    • Ask you questions about the deceased and register the death on the telephone without you attending the Register Office.
    • Take a card payment for any death certificates that you need and post them to you. You will need your debit or credit card ready as part of the appointment.
    • Tell you about the paperwork that will be issued for the burial or cremation.
    • Advise you about the Tell us Once Service.
    • Be able to signpost you to other services you might be able to help you.

What do I need to know ?

The Registrar will ask you for the following information about the person who has died:

Details required Guidance notes
Date of death  
Place of death

This will be the name of the hospital or
nursing home, the name or number of the
house, the name of the street and village
town etc.

If the death took place in an ambulance,
car etc then please record circumstances
i.e. the locality of the vehicle when the
death occurred and the intended
destination.

Name and surname This should be the name they were
known as at the time of his or her death.
You should also establish if they are
known by any other name currently or
previously. These too should be recorded
with some notes as to the circumstances
to help the registrar ascertain how to
record the information in the entry.
Sex Male or Female
Maiden surname of woman who was married This is the surname in which a woman contracted her (first) marriage
Date of birth Please provide approximate
dates if exact date not known.
Place of birth Town and county/London borough or
country of birth and only country if born
outside UK.
Occupation

Please provide as much information as
possible relating to the most recent
occupation.

Please also record whether the deceased
was retired.

Usual address This should include the name or number
of the house, name of the street and
village or town. Where the death occurred
in a hospital the deceased's usual
address should be recorded.

Where can I register a death?

Under the Births and Deaths Registration Act of 1953 it is a legal requirement to register a death within 5 days from death and also a death must be registered in the Registration District where the death took place.

Only a death that occurred in Darlington, meaning the administrative area of Darlington Borough Council, can be registered at Darlington Register Office.

If you are unable to attend the Register Office in the district where the death took place details of the death may be given at your local register office in England or Wales which is known as “a death by declaration”. In this scenario details about the death are taken and then posted to the registration officer in the district where the death occurred who will then register the death and issue death certificates and relevant funeral paperwork.

Registering a death by declaration may cause delays in the death being registered and the funeral paperwork being issued.

Should you need any advice about where you can register a death or about the process of registering a death by declaration please contact the register office on 01325 406 400.

An appointment system is in operation for all death registrations at Darlington Register Office.

Who can register a death?

In order of preference the following people are qualified to register a death:

  • a relative of the deceased present at the death
  • a relative of the deceased in attendance during the last illness.
  • a relative of the deceased residing or being in the district where the death occurred.
  • a person present at the death.
  • the occupier if he knew of the happening of the death.
  • any inmate if he knew of the happening of the death.
  • the person causing the disposal of the body

What information do I need?

Please bring the following documents with you:

  • medical certificate of cause of death from the doctor or notification from the coroner
  • if available, the deceased's birth certificate
  • if available, information relating to any pensions, benefits or allowance received by the deceased
  • if available, the deceased's N.H.S. medical card

Information you will need:

  • the date and place of death
  • the full names and surname of the deceased
  • maiden surname if applicable
  • the date and place of birth of the deceased
  • the occupation and address of the deceased
  • if the person who has died was a married lady or a widow the full names and occupation of her husband
  • your name and address
  • if the deceased was still married the date of birth of their widow/widower

If would like to use tell us once, please also bring the deceased's National Insurance Number, driving licence and passport if you are able to.

How much does it cost to register a death?

The death registration is free of charge.

The registrar will give you a document for the funeral director which will allow you to make arrangements for the burial or cremation.  You will also be given a certificate for social security purposes. Any death certificates you wish to purchase will cost £11.00 each at the time of registration. Further copies can be purchased after that date. 

All certificate fees [pdf document]

The registration

Registering a death must be done in person - it cannot be done by email or over the phone.

The registrar will see you in a private room and the information you give will be entered firstly onto the computer, and then once you are happy with the content, the details will be copied into the death register.

Before signing the register you will be asked to check that the information you have given has been entered accurately.

Appointment system

Please note that an appointment system is in operation for all birth, death and notice of marriage/civil partnership registrations. Contact the Register Office on 01325 406400 to make an appointment.

Tell us once

Tell us once is an optional service you can use when you register a death.

Once the death has been registered we will share information about the death with various Government agencies including the Department for Work and Pensions, Benefits and HM Revenues and Customs. This means you do not have to send a death certificate to each organisation.

You can either do this at the appointment, or over the telephone once the death has been registered - please call the Department for Work and Pensions on 0800 0857308.

If you are the next of kin, your entitlement to benefits may change.

All information you provide will be treated securely and confidentially.

For more information please contact us on [email protected] or 01325 406 400.