What do I do if I have to register a death?

When someone dies the death must be registered within 5 days of the date of death. This does not apply when the Coroner is involved.

The doctor who treated the person during their last illness will usually issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. You must give this certificate to the registrar when you attend to register the death.

Where can the death be registered?

The death must be registered in the district where it occurred. Alternatively, if you contact the Register Office you can be advised on registering a death by the Declaration procedure at another Register Office in England and Wales..

Do I have to make an appointment?

Yes, in order to register a death at the Neath Port Talbot Register Office please contact 01639 760021 or 01639 760020 to arrange an appointment. 

You may want to use our Tell us once service which means, with your consent, the Registrar can notify other council departments and government agencies of the death on your behalf.

What if the death has been reported to the Coroner?

A death may be referred to the Coroner for a number of reasons:

  • Where the deceased was not attended during his/her last illness by a medical practitioner.
  • Where the registrar has been unable to obtain a duly completed certificate of cause of death.
  • Where it appears to the registrar from the particulars contained in the medical certificate or otherwise, that the deceased was seen by the certifying medical practitioner neither after death nor within 14 days before the death.
  • Where the cause of death appears to be unknown.
  • Where the registrar has reason to believe the death to have been unnatural or to have been caused by violence or neglect, or by abortion, or to have been in suspicious circumstances.
  • Where the death appears to the registrar to have occurred during an operation or before recovery from the effect of an anaesthetic.
  • Where the death appears to the registrar from the contents of any medical certificate to have been due to industrial disease or poisoning.

The Coroner may decide that no action is necessary and will issue a form to the registrar stating this. The registration may then be carried out. If a post-mortem is to be carried out, there could be a delay whilst the cause of death is established. After consideration of the findings he could either issue a form authorising the registration to be carried out, or he could call for an inquest to be held. After the inquest the relevant paperwork will be issued to the registrar for the registering of the death to be carried out. It is not necessary for you to attend at the Register Office in these circumstances. Once the death has been registered upon the completion of an Inquest, death certificates can be obtained by personal or postal application.

Who can register the death?

The following people may register a death:

  • A relative of the deceased
  • A person present at the death
  • The occupier of the Nursing Home or Hospital where the death occurred if there is no known relative able to register.
  • A person arranging the funeral (this does not mean the Funeral Director).

What information will the registrar need?

You will be interviewed in private by the registrar and asked questions about the person who has died. You will need to know the following information:

  • The date and place of death
  • The full name and surname of the deceased, and if the deceased was a married woman or widow, her maiden surname
  • The date and place of birth
  • The last full time occupation, and if the deceased was a married woman or widow the full name and occupation of her husband
  • The usual address of the deceased
  • Whether the deceased was receiving any pension or allowance from public funds
  • Your own name and address

You may want to use our Tell us once service which means, with your consent, the Registrar can notify other council departments and government agencies of the death on your behalf.

What documents will I be given by the registrar?

You will be given either a green or yellow form for the funeral director which will enable you to make the funeral arrangements. If the death was referred to the Coroner other procedures may apply.

You will also be given a white form for Social Security purposes in respect of state pensions and benefits.

You will be able to purchase death certificates for a fee of £4.00 at the time of registration. If you do not purchase enough certificates at the time you register you can obtain more at any time in the future at an increased fee of £7.00.

Can the death be registered bi-lingually?

Yes, the death may be registered in Welsh and English (but not Welsh only). It is advisable to telephone the Register Office beforehand on 01639 760021/ 01639 760020 / 01639 760022 to ascertain that a Welsh-speaking registrar will be available, as not all our registrars are Welsh-speaking. You must also be able to speak Welsh to register bi-lingually.