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How to register a death

Information about registering a death and how to book an appointment.

Deaths must be registered within 5 days of the death. If a post-mortem is carried out, the death must be registered within 7 days.

A member of the family should ideally register the death. If this is not possible, it should be done by either:

  • the person who was present at the death
  • the person organising the funeral (not the funeral director)
  • the occupier of the premises in which the death occurred

Deaths can be registered through an appointment at one of our register offices.

Before you book an appointment

There is a legal requirement to register a death within 5 days starting from the day after the death.

To book an appointment to register a death, you can:

You cannot book an appointment online after 5 days from the day after the death. Please call our offices to make an appointment.

Please be aware that some of the available appointments in the Ipswich office are upstairs and there is no lift. If you require an appointment in a downstairs room in Ipswich, you will need to call us to make your appointment. All other offices are ground floor only or accessible via a lift.

Book an appointment online

For more information about registering a death in Suffolk you can find more details below.

You may wish to read about the Tell Us Once initiative, where other government agencies and departments can be informed of a death by a simple online process or one telephone call.

If you have any queries about registering a death, you can contact a register office.

Information you will need

To register a death you will need the:

  • medical certificate with the cause of death - signed by the doctor
  • date and place of the death
  • full names of the deceased and any previous names - including maiden names (with marriage certificate for evidence)
  • usual home address and post code
  • date and place of birth of the deceased - please bring a birth certificate, if available
  • occupation of the deceased
  • full name, date of birth and occupation of the spouse (for a married or widowed woman) or civil partner
  • National Health Service number, medical card or Serco letter from the Health Authority

Tell us Once

What is 'Tell us Once'?

Tell us Once is a government initiative which aims to ease the burden of notifying multiple local and central government departments that someone has died.

How can I use the service?

As part of your death registration appointment you will be issued with a unique reference number. This important number enables you to notify various local and national government agencies using a simple online form or one telephone call. You will find more information on GOV.UK.

Who can complete the online form or make the telephone call?

You will need to be the 'next of kin' or the person dealing with the deceased's estate to use this service or have their permission to do so.

What happens if I lose the reference number or it isn’t recognised?

Please take every care to keep the reference number safe to prevent delay in using the Tell Us Once service. If you lose the reference number you will need to contact the registration office who provided you with the reference number. 

You will also need to contact the registration office if the Tell Us Once system shows that the reference number is not recognised. The office will be able to provide you with a new reference number but are unlikely to be able to provide this immediately, although they will try to do this as soon as they can.

Is the use of the service compulsory?

No, it is entirely optional.

How secure is the service?

The information you give will be treated securely and confidentially. The organisations who are contacted will use the information to update records, to end services, benefits and credits as appropriate. Information will only be used as the law allows and will not be given to any department or organisation unless you have given your consent for them to be contacted.

Can I use this service if the Coroner has been involved?

Yes. The Coroner's Officer will contact you and ask if you would like to use the Tell us Once System when the Coroner opens an Inquest or Investigation.

They'll pass your details through to the registrars who'll generate a unique reference number which'll be sent to you separately with full details to access the service.

Documents you will receive

If a post-mortem is not being held you will receive the following documents from a registrar:

  • a certificate for burial or cremation (the green form), giving permission for the burial or cremation to take place
  • a certificate of registration of death (form BD8), issued for Social Security purposes, if the deceased was on a state pension or benefits

Death certificates are available to purchase at the registration at £11 per copy.

 

Deaths involving post-mortems

If the death has been reported to the Coroner, the Registrar cannot register the death until the Coroner's enquiries are complete.

You will be advised by the Coroner's officers when registration can take place.

If an inquest is to be held, you will not need to attend an appointment to register the death.

Deaths outside of Suffolk

You can register the details of a death that occurred outside of Suffolk by declaration at your local Register Office.

This information is then sent to the correct registration office for the death to be registered.

You will not receive any paperwork at this appointment - it will be sent to you through the post.

This will cause a delay of up to 5 working days.

Privacy notice

You can read the Suffolk Register Office privacy notice.