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Registering the death

During this difficult time of bereavement, following the loss of a loved one, there are some practical steps that you will need to take, one of them will be to register their death within 5 working days.

Registration can only be completed once The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been issued by the doctor who has been looking after your loved one.

We can assist you in getting The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and then guide you through the registration process if you wish, including arranging the appointment at the appropriate Registrar’s Office.

If you feel you would like support, we can also accompany you to the Registrar’s Office for the appointment.

There are several registration offices across Devon and Cornwall which are located in the following locations:

Sometimes it may not be possible to register your loved ones death straight away, especially if the coroner is involved, but we can help and advise you on this, if necessary.

Who can register a death?

The person registering the death is known as ‘the Informant’. The list below shows who can be an informant however, if you are unsure please get in touch with us and we can help guide you through this.

  • The Next of Kin, a relative or Civil Partner who was present at the death
  • The Next of Kin, a relative or Civil Partner present during the person’s last illness
  • The Next of Kin, a relative or Civil Partner living in the district where the death took place
  • Any person present at the death including an occupant of a nursing/residential home or senior official from a hospital where the death took place.
  • An owner or occupier of the building where the death took place, who knew of the happening of the death
  • The person arranging the funeral (but not your funeral director).

What is registration by declaration?

Your loved one’s death must be registered in the district where their death occurred, if you cannot get to a Registrar’s Office within that district, this can take place at a Registrar’s Office of your choice by what is called ‘registration by declaration’.

If you wish to carry out registration by declaration, we can contact both registrars on your behalf and assist you to complete this formality.

In normal circumstances, the process will involve the issuing and receipt of the required certificates and is unlikely to take place in under seven days, which can cause a possible delay to the funeral.

Tell us once service

The Government provides a special Tell us once service that will inform most council departments about your loved one’s death in one go. We recommend using this service to avoid having to make repeated phone calls about your loved ones death.

  • Click here to visit the tell us once service for Cornwall
  • Click here to visit the tell us once service for Devon