Registering a death

Book an appointment to register a death in West Sussex. You are legally required to do this within 5 days.

1 Book an appointment

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

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

Coronavirus (Covid-19) registration update

In line with the General Registrar’s instructions for implementation of Coronavirus (emergency) Act 2020, all registration appointments will now be conducted by telephone. Please book your appointment as normal following the link below, but do not attend the Registration Office.

Whilst we will do our best to contact you during the allotted half hour, this may not be possible, so please bear with us and you will get a call that day.

If you have the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) from the doctor, please drop it in to one of our offices in Crawley, Chichester, Haywards Heath or Worthing prior to your telephone appointment.

For further advice or to book an appointment, you can phone 01243 642122. Where possible, please book your telephone appointment by using our online service in the first instance as we are experiencing high call volumes.

Book your appointment online (external link)

You must have the medical cause of death certificate from the doctor before you can register a death. 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 Deaths outside of West Sussex (registration by declaration)

If the death occurred outside West Sussex you may still register the death, by declaration, at any of our registration offices.

We will take the required information and forward it to the correct registration district on your behalf. If you choose this option, please be aware you will not be issued with any documents immediately; they will be posted to you within a few days from the relevant registration district.

It is important to note that this could delay the funeral arrangements.

Book your appointment online (external link)

5 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 is 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 that:

  • 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)

6 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 the death occurred in to obtain certificates. Find contact details for other registration districts on GOV.UK.

Last updated:
10 January 2022
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