Registering a death

Book an appointment to register a death in West Sussex.

1 Book an appointment

If the death occurred in West Sussex, you can book an appointment to register at any of our Registration offices

You must now come to the office you chose when booking your appointment to register the death. We will no longer be legally allowed to conduct the appointment over the telephone.

Appointments are held in enclosed offices, so we ask that only two members of the family attend the appointment. We are also asking you to wear a face covering to protect both yourself and our staff.

Please do not attend your appointment if you have COVID-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has.

View further information on What to do when a person dies.

Book your appointment online (external link)

Alternatively, you can phone 01243 642122.

Cause of death medical certificates issued by the doctor or hospital will be emailed directly to the registrar by the doctor or hospital. You will not be required to collect the certificate in person.

If the death is referred to the Coroner they will issue the medical paperwork directly to the registrar. The Coroner's officer will usually contact you when the paperwork has been completed so you can make an appointment to register the death.

At your appointment the registrar will give you details of the Tell Us Once service. This service lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go. 

2 Who can register a death

You can register the death if you’re:

  • a relative
  • someone present at the death
  • an administrator from the hospital
  • the person making funeral arrangements.
Book your appointment online (external link)

3 What you need to do

What you’ll need to tell the registrar

The details the registrar will need to know about the deceased are:

  • their full name at the time of death
  • any names previously used, for example, maiden name
  • their date and place of birth
  • their last address
  • their occupation
  • the full name, date of birth and occupation of any surviving or late spouse or civil partner
  • whether they were getting a State Pension or any other benefits.

Documents to assist you

To ensure accurate registration of the above information, you may wish to have the following documents for the person with you:

  • birth certificate - to confirm place of birth
  • passport - for the correct spelling of names
  • council tax bill, utility bill or driving licence - to provide correct address details
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate - to confirm maiden name
  • National Health Service (NHS) number/medical card - this is a unique 10-digit code issued to every person who uses the NHS for medical care. The number is displayed in the 3-3-4 format on medical cards and documents. We do not require the NI number used to identify what tax code the person is on in the UK.

Documents issued by the registrar

  • Certificate for Burial or Cremation (the ‘green form’) giving permission for burial or an application for cremation will be emailed to your chosen funeral director or the person arranging the funeral.
  • Tell Us Once (TUO) reference number, allowing you to complete the process online or by phone, will be emailed or posted to you.

Find more information on GOV.UK.

Book your appointment online (external link)

4 Tell Us Once

When someone has died, their death needs to be registered with the registrar. Once this is done other organisations and government departments need to be informed.

The Tell Us Once service makes this easier for you. You only need to provide the details to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) once and they will notify the government organisations that need to know.

Here's a short video explaining the service: 

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Which organisations are informed?

  • Local councils - to update records and services, such as the electoral register, Council Tax, housing and benefits departments and Blue Badge.
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - for personal tax, tax credit and child benefit services.
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - to update benefits information, such as state pension or Universal Credit.
  • Passport Office - to cancel a British passport.
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) - to cancel a driving licence and remove registered keeper details.
  • Public sector or armed forces pension schemes - to update pension records for individuals who worked for public sector organisations (such as the NHS and local councils) or the armed forces.

How does it work?

When you register a death the registrar adds the details of the deceased to the Tell Us Once national database. Once the details have been added you will be given a reference number and can complete the process online or by phone.

Before you use the service be aware of the following:

  • Permission is required from the person's next of kin, executor, administrator and anyone who was claiming benefits or entitlements with the person who died
  • Once agencies have been informed by the Tell Us Once service, they will make any further contact with the bereaved family that's necessary
  • There's no need to follow up contact unless you don't receive a confirmation from relevant services after one month
  • The Tell Us Once service cannot organise benefits - you'll need to contact the relevant department for advice or visit GOV.UK
  • Tell Us Once does not notify commercial organisations such as banks, utility companies and so on and cannot arrange for redirection of post.

Information you will need

To use the Tell Us Once service you will need the deceased person's:

  • date of birth
  • address
  • National Insurance number
  • driving licence number
  • vehicle registration number
  • passport number.

You'll also need:

  • details of any benefits or entitlements they were receiving - for example State Pension, Universal Credit
  • details of any local council services they were in receipt of, such as adult social services, Blue Badge or travel pass
  • name and address of their next of kin
  • name, address and contact details of their executor or administrator (the person or company dealing with their estate - property, belongings and money)
  • details of any public sector or armed forces pension schemes they were getting or paying into.
Access the Tell Us Once service online (external link)

5 Order a death certificate after registering the death

Death certificates are often required to administer actions such as cancelling services, policies, accounts and so on. There is a useful checklist of organisations you may need to contact about the death in the bereavement guide. You can use the list as an aid to help you decide how many certificates you will need as this varies upon individual circumstances. The more organisations you need to inform, the more certificates you are likely to require.

Use our online system to order death certificates after you have registered the death.

Order a death certificate

We are only able to issue certificates for deaths that have occurred within West Sussex. If you have registered the death by declaration, you will need to contact the district where the death occurred to obtain certificates. Find contact details for other registration districts on GOV.UK.

Last updated:
12 September 2022
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