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When Someone Dies

Registering the death

You are legally required to register the death within 5 days except in certain circumstances, where the period may be extended to 14 days. If the Coroner is investigating the death, they will issue the Death Certificate to you directly and you will then be required to register the death once the Coroner’s Certificate has been received.

Who can register the Death?

People with legal responsibility to register include:

  • A Relative
  • A person present at the death
  • The occupier of the premises where the death occurred if he/she knew it was happening.
  • The person arranging the funeral. (This does not mean the funeral director.)

(See also the list on the notice to Informants attached to the Doctors Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.)

Where do I register the death?

All offices operate a strict pre-booked appointment system

Castle Point Council areas

South Benfleet Library,

264 High Road,

South Benfleet,  SS7 5HD

Office open: Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 9am – 5pm

Rayleigh and Rochford Council areas

Rayleigh Library,

132-134 High Street,

Rayleigh, SS6 7BX

Office open: Monday: 9am – 5pm


Rochford Library,

8 Roche Close,

Rochford, SS4 1PX

Office open: Thursday 9.30am – 4.30pm

Centralised Appointment’s Booking No: 0345 603 7632

or book online @

Southend Borough Council areas

  • Leigh-on-sea
  • Westcliff
  • Southend (inc. Southend Hospital)
  • Shoeburyness

The Civic Centre

Victoria Avenue,

Southend-on-Sea  SS2 6ER

Monday – Friday 9.30 am – 12.30 pm, 1.30 pm – 4 pm

Appointments Booking No.: 01702 215009

Useful contacts

A complete guide to death and bereavement.
Visit site

HM Coroner for Essex
Information on HM Coroner for Essex.
Visit site

Essex Registrar
Find your nearest registration office when registering a death.
Visit site

Details you may need

There are a number of details of the deceased that it would be helpful to have at hand that will help you complete forms or documents in the coming days and weeks.

  • National Insurance Number
  • NHS Number
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Date of marriage or civil partnership (if appropriate) Child Benefit Number (if appropriate)
  • Tax reference Number

What happens if there isn’t a will?

If there is no will, a close relative of the deceased can apply to the probate registry to deal with the estate. In this case they apply for a ‘grant of letters of administration’. If the grant is given, they are known as ‘administrators’ of the estate. Like the grant of probate, the grant of letters of administration is a legal document which confirms the administrator’s authority to deal with the deceased person’s assets. In some cases, for example, where the person who benefits is a child, the law states that more than one person must act as the administrator.

What to do first

The death of a loved one can be a very distressing and troubling time and it can be hard to know what to do next. This page aims to guide you through the necessary steps that will have to be made after someone close passes away and explain the administrative procedures involved.

If the death has occurred in a private residence you will need to contact the person’s GP or the out of hours service. If the death occurs in a nursing home or hospice generally the staff will summon a Doctor or other qualified person on your behalf. In both instances if practical, this should be the Doctor that looked after the person during their last illness.

(N.B. If the doctor or qualified person who certifies death is not the patients normal Doctor, the necessary documentation will need to be collected from their normal Doctors surgery)

The Doctor will issue the following documentation:

  • A Medical Certificate that states the cause of death
  • A Formal Notice that states that the Doctor has signed the Medical Certificate and informs you how to register the death.

Once the doctor has attended, you will need to make arrangements for the deceased to be taken to the Funeral Director’s Chapel of Rest.

What happens if the Coroner is involved in the Death?

If the Doctor cannot certify as to the cause of Death, i.e. the deceased died suddenly, they will notify the Coroner. It is the duty of the Coroner to investigate the circumstances of the death in order to try to establish the cause. Once the Coroner has been informed, they will arrange for the deceased to be taken to the local hospital and it is possible that a post mortem examination may take place. A post mortem examination is a medical examination of the body to establish more about the cause of death, contact details for the Coroner’s service are below.

Southend & Essex Coroners Service
0333 0135000
Ground floor Seax House Essex County Council Victoria Road South Chelmsford CM1 1LX

First steps

Stibbards & Sons

For immediate assistance and advice following the death of a loved, please call us on 01702 558 717

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