We have had to change the way that some of our service operates to meet the guidelines set out by the government in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

A death must be registered within five days. This can be extended in exceptional circumstances or if the coroner is involved.

A death can only be registered once the registrar has received a scanned (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death) from the doctor, unless the office has received this document the registrar will be unable to carry out the registration. If the registrar does not have the medical certificate in time for your appointment they will call you to rearrange your booking.

If the death has been reported to the coroner, the registrar is unable to go ahead with the registration until they decide whether any further investigation into the death is necessary. In the vast majority of cases no further investigation is required so the registration can be completed straightaway.

All registrations are by appointment only and will take about 40 minutes. 

Where can you register?

  • Paignton Library - Monday to Friday (appointments from 9:30am to 3:30pm)

  Book an appointment in Torbay

Who can register a death?

If the person died in a house or hospital, the death can be registered by:

  • A relative
  • Someone present at the death
  • The owner/manager/matron of the residential home or hospital administrator where the death occurred
  • The person responsible for arranging the funeral (but not the Funeral Director)

Most deaths are registered by a relative. The registrar would normally only allow other people if there are no relatives available.

What information will the registrar ask for?

We need to know some information about the person who has died to be able to complete the death register entry.

It is important that the information is correct.

  • The date and place of death
  • The full name of the person who died and details of any other names they were known by
  • Their date and place of birth
  • Their occupation and whether they were retired
  • Their usual address
  • If the person who died was a married the full name and occupation of their spouse
  • Whether they were in receipt of a pension from government funds, such as teachers, civil services, armed forces etc
  • If the deceased was married, the date of birth of the spouse.
  • If available the person’s NHS number

It would be helpful if you could bring with you some ID for yourself like your passport, council tax bill, driving licence, birth certificate or a utility bill.

The registrar will ask you to sign to confirm that the details in the register are correct. If an error is noticed after the registration, you will need to apply for the entry to be corrected and there is a charge for this. 

Death certificates

A death certificate is a certified copy of the entry in the Register and you can buy as many as you need at the registration, at a cost of £11 each.

You can buy extra copies at any time after the registration.

You should register the death at the register office closest to where the death occurred. If this is not possible you can register in Torbay but this will be a registration by declaration.

Search for a register office  Opens in a new window

How does registration by declaration work?

Certificates can usually be ordered and paid for at the time of making the declaration. The cost of each certificate is £4. Payment needs to be made to the district issuing the certificates not where the details are recorded. So please bring a cheque or postal order with you to pay for your certificates.

If you are unable to pay by cheque or postal order please discuss this with the registrar at your appointment.

If you register by declaration the document for burial or cremation will take a day or two longer to be issued as it will be posted to you.


The proper procedure must be followed for the country where the death occurred. This is to make sure a death certificate is issued.

Information on registering a death abroad  Opens in a new window