Third Generation Family Funeral Directors

Established 1928

Registering a Death

A death should normally be registered within 5 days unless the Coroner is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death. See Part 3 of this guide for more information.

You need to make an appointment to register a death. In Devon please phone 0345 155 1002 and in Somerset please phone 01823 282251 in order to do so.

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    Who can register a death?

    It is preferable for a relative of the deceased to register the death. If a relative is not available, then the following people can register the death:

    • Someone present at the death
    • The occupier of the house where the death occurred or an administrator of the hospital
    • The person making arrangements with the funeral directors.
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    Where can I register a death?

    You can register the death at the registration office which is most convenient for you, however it is recommended that the death is registered in the district in which it took place. There are 10 registration offices in the Devon area.

Registration Offices

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    Devon Register Office
    Newton Abbot

    Address: Devon Register Office
    Old Forde House
    Brunel Road
    Newton Abbot
    TQ12 4XX

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    East Devon Registration Office

    Address: East Devon Registration Office
    Town Hall
    St Andrews Road
    EX8 1AW

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    East Devon Registration Office

    Address: East Devon Registration Office
    East Devon Business Centre
    Heathpark Way
    EX14 1SF

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    Exeter Registration Office

    Address: Larkbeare House
    Topsham Road
    EX2 4NG

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    Mid Devon Registration Office

    Address: Mid Devon Registration Office
    Old Heathcoat School Community Centre
    King Street
    EX16 5JJ

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    North Devon Registration Office

    Address: North Devon Registration Office
    Taw View
    EX31 1EE

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    South Hams Registration Office

    Address: South Hams Registration Office
    Follaton House
    Plymouth Road
    TQ9 5NE

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    Torridge Registration Office

    Address: Torridge Registration Office
    Caddsdown Business Support Centre
    Farm Road
    EX39 3DX

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    West Devon Registration Office

    Address: West Devon Registration Office
    Okehampton Town Council Offices
    Fore Street
    EX20 1AA

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    West Devon Registration Office

    Address: West Devon Registration Office
    Alexander Centre
    62 Plymouth Road
    PL19 8BU

Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council have their own responsibility for registration services.

Somerset Registrars

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    Contact Somerset Register Office (Taunton)

    The Old Municipal Buildings, Corporation Street
    TA1 4AQ
    Phone 01823 282251
    Fax 01823 351173
    Opening hours Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm

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    Contact Chard Registration Office

    Address Holyrood Lace Mill
    Holyrood Street, Chard
    TA20 2YA
    Phone 01823 282251
    Opening hours Tuesday and Thursday 9.15am to 4.30pm


What will happen when I register a death and what do I need to take?

You must take the medical certificate showing the cause of death (signed by a doctor) with you. You will also need to tell the registrar:
date and place of death
name and surname of the deceased including any previous names, for example, maiden name
date and place of birth
Name and Occupation of surviving spouse or civil partner where the deceased was married, in a civil partnership or a widow/widower or surviving civil partner
usual address
whether the deceased was in receipt of a pension or allowance from public funds
if the deceased was married, the date of birth of the surviving widow or widower.
You should also take some form of identification for yourself (suggested documents: passport, council tax bill, driving licence, birth certificate, utility bill). For documents required relating to the deceased please see Tell Us Once below.
If available then you should also take the deceased’s NHS medical card, birth certificate and marriage or civil partnership certificate.
What documents will I be given?
A Certificate for Burial or Cremation. This will need to be given to the funeral director.
A Certificate of Registration of Death (form BD8). This form may need to be filled out if the person was getting a State Pension or any other benefits.
Death certificates may be purchased from the registrar on the day of registration. It is likely that you will need certificates when it comes to sorting out the person’s affairs. These are at a cost of £11.00 each
Tell Us Once
The Tell Us Once service allows you to report the death once, it means we can tell other government organisations on your behalf. At the end of your appointment you will have the opportunity to provide the registrar with information that they can use to inform these other organisations.
Take as many of the following documents as possible to your appointment:
Driving Licence
National Insurance Number
Blue Badge
National Bus Pass.

Deaths reported to a coroner

A small number of deaths have to be reported to the coroner before they may be registered and before documentation allowing the funeral to go ahead can be issued. In the following circumstances the registrar will report the death to the coroner if it has not already happened:

  • where the cause of death is unknown
  • where the cause of death is believed to be unnatural or suspicious
  • where there is no doctor who can issue a medical certificate of cause of death
  • where the deceased was not seen by the doctor issuing the medical certificate after death nor within 14 days before death
  • where the death occurred during an operation or before recovery from an anesthetic
  • where the death is due to industrial disease or industrial poisoning.

Once a death has been reported to the coroner, the registrar is unable to go ahead with the registration until the coroner has decided whether any further investigation into the death is necessary.

Special Circumstances

Register a stillbirth

A stillbirth should be registered at a register office within 42 days.
Sometimes a stillbirth can be registered after 42 days – the register office can explain when this can happen. You can name the baby in the register.
Who can register the stillbirth
If the baby’s parents are married, either the mother or father can register.
The mother can sign if:

  • the baby’s parents aren’t married
  • the father can’t be traced or is unknown.

If both parents want the father’s name in the register:

  • both parents can sign the register together
  • the mother can sign and bring a ‘signed declaration’ from the father (the register office can explain how to do this).
  • If the father registers the stillbirth and the parents aren’t married, the mother will need to make a ‘signed declaration’ (the register office can explain how to do this).

If the child was conceived as a result of fertility treatment either of the following can register the stillbirth:

  • the mother
  • the father, if he was married to the mother at the time of treatment
  • the second female parent if she was in a civil partnership with the mother at the time of treatment.

If neither parent can attend then the following people can register the stillbirth:

  • the occupier of the hospital or house where the stillbirth took place
  • someone who was present at the stillbirth
  • someone who is responsible for the stillborn child
  • the person who found the stillborn child, if the date and place of the stillbirth are unknown.

What you need to take
You need the medical certificate of stillbirth issued by the doctor or midwife.
The following organisations give support and advice:

  • Sands
  • Tommy’s
Insurance Policies

It is important that you notify insurance companies of the death of the insured person immediately to ensure that you continue to have the correct cover. These can include house buildings and contents, life and motor insurance.

Company and Private Pensions

If the deceased was in receipt of a company or private pension you should notify the company concerned as soon as possible.
They will probably require a copy of the Registrar’s death certificate.

Probate and Letters of Administration

If the person who has died left a Will, this dictates the distribution of that person’s estate. The responsibility to do so is the person or persons named in the Will. These are called the Executor or Executrix. They apply for the right to deal with the estate to the Probate Registry and are granted Probate.

If the person who has died has left no Will, they have died ‘intestate’ and specific rules apply. Generally, the closest family members will administer the Estate. They apply to the Probate Registry as the Administrator of the Estate.

Depending upon the complexity of the Estate, the timeframe to finalise an Estate can run from a few months to a number of years.

If you are the person responsible and you do not choose to employ a professional to help you then you should contact HM Revenue and Customs as soon as possible (Tel: 0300 123 1072). Details of how and when to apply for Probate can be found on the website. Alternatively if you are the person responsible for an Estate you can choose to appoint professional advisors to deal with any or all aspects of the estate. These could be a local solicitor or accountants.

The Money Advice Service has guidance on when and how to use a solicitor or probate specialist.

Easterbrook Eaton Limited, Chartered Accountants, of Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary offer Estate and Probate Administration Services and also offer free initial interviews. If you would like to discuss any part of the process with them please call 01395 516658 and speak to either Adrian Coombe FCA BA FMAAT or Jack Layzell ACA MAAT, or. Alternatively email:

Call 24 Hours

01404 44646

Our office opening hours are Monday to Friday:
10am - 4pm.  Tel: 01404 44646


Layzell Funeral Services
The Old Court,
Dowell St
Honiton EX14 1LZ
Tel: 01404 44646

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