Register a death and arrange a funeral

Here you will be able to register a death, as well as finding helpful information about funeral arrangements. Please note - at present we are only taking payment for certificates by debit/credit card. Therefore we cannot accept cash. Please ensure you have your card with you

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This page gives important information on how to register a death.

PLEASE NOTE: Morpeth birth registrations are now held at County Hall NE61 2EF, not at Morpeth Town Hall

How do I register a death in Northumberland?

  1. A death must be registered within five days.
  2. If the death ocurred in the registration district of Northumberland, please click here to book an appointment with us online, or call our customer services team on 0345 600 6400. This will allow you to make an appointment across all register offices in Northumberland.
  3. When you visit us, it will take around 30 minutes to register a death. 

What information do I need when registering a death?

  • Cause of death. 
  • Full name and any other name the deceased may have been known by, for example maiden name. 
  • Date of birth of the deceased. 
  • The deceased’s occupation. 
  • If they are married, you will also need the full name and occupation of their spouse. 
  • Date of birth of surviving spouse, if applicable. 
  • Address
  • NHS number, if their medical card is available. 

The documents you need to bring with you are: 

  • deceased’s birth certificate 
  • birth certificate of the surviving spouse, if applicable 
  • deceased’s marriage certificate, if applicable  

How much will it cost to register a death?

  • The registration is free. 
  • Certified copies of death certificates are £11. 
A Certified copy of the death entry can be purchased either at the time of booking or during the appointment. They can then be issued during the appointment.
Once the death has been registered you will be asked by the registrar to check that the details you have given are correct. It is important that you do this before you sign the register page. If a mistake is found at a later date and you require a correction to be made, a fee of up to £90 is payable. 

The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) will be sent/scanned directly to the register office from the Hospital or Doctors Surgery ready for your appointment.        

What happens if I require additional certificates at a later date? 

 If you require additional copies of the death certificate, they can be purchased online or by telephoning 0345 600 6400.  
Access the online order system here  

What happens if I make a mistake on the certified copy? 

 If there is a mistake on the certified copy of the registration entry, contact the registration office

How to notify council and government organisations when someone has died? (Tell Us Once)

Tell Us Once is a service that lets your report a death to most government services in one go. Our registrar will explain it when you register the death, and give you a unique reference number so you can use it online or by phone. 

Northumberland Registration Service has partnered with the free service, Settld, to help you notify the organisations which Tell Us Once doesn’t cover. Settld will inform banks, utilities, insurers, pension providers and many others of the death, in one go, using one simple form. You can access Settld immediately here:



A doctor or midwife who was present at the birth, or examined the baby, will issue a medical certificate of still-birth. The hospital staff will usually contact a registrar who will attend the ward to carry out the registration. 

If a death occurs away from home, such as on holiday, you may wish to move the body back home for burial or cremation. To do this, you will need to: 


  • Register the death according to the local regulations of the country where the death occurred. 
  • Obtain permission from the relevant authority in that country for the removal of the body. 
  • Obtain a copy of the death certificate translated into English. 


Most funeral directors will be able to advise you on how to do this, along with any costs which may be covered by the insurance of the person who has died. 


To move a body out of England and Wales (including moving into Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, as well as abroad) you must have authority from a coroner with jurisdiction for where the person died. 
This applies even if the death was completely natural and did not need to be reported to the coroner before registration. 
Your funeral director will normally make the arrangements for you. However, you must register the death in England or Wales before you move the body.  


Following the death of a loved one, arranging a funeral can add more stress to this already difficult time. Below, we have provided information to help with carrying out the required tasks and collecting all the relevant documents before you start arranging the funeral.

A funeral can either be by burial or cremation. You can organise it with or without the help of a funeral director and personalise it as much as you want. In some cases, the deceased may have planned their own funeral in advance. It may be beneficial to check the details of the deceased person’s will first. 
  • Make sure the death does not have to be reported to the coroner, as this could affect the date when the funeral can be held. Please see here for more information on the coroner’s service. 

  • Take the wishes of the deceased into account. Remember to check the will or other written instructions for special wishes about their funeral, or what should happen to their body. If there are no clear wishes, it is generally the executor or closest relative who decides on a cremation or burial. 

  • Check if the deceased had an organ donor card or a request for their body to be given for medical research. 

  • Clarify whether the deceased paid into a funeral plan to cover some or all of the costs. 

  • If there is no will or instructions, the next of kin should decide what to do. 

  • If you arrange the funeral you are responsible for paying the bill, so check where the money will come from and whether it will be enough first. Most funeral directors will wait until probate has been granted or funds are released from the deceased person’s bank account. Please see here for more information on financial help. 

When can burials take place? 
Burials (interments) in the council cemeteries may take place Monday to Friday between 9.30am - 3pm and Saturdays between 9.30am - 12pm. 



What is required before a burial can take place? 
You will need to complete a notice of interment form and provide the registration certificate for cremation or burial, or the coroner’s order for burial. 
If the family already has the exclusive right of burial in a grave, they should provide the appropriate details. If available, they should also provide the grave deed to the local cemetery office. 
There is a notice of three working days before the service to allow sufficient time to prepare the grave. 
Muslim burials 
Northumberland County Council, in partnership with Ponteland Town Council, provides a dedicated Muslim burial area in Prestwick Cemetery. This section has been developed with local Muslim community representatives, is orientated appropriately with Mecca and is only available for use by people of Muslim faith. 
We offer a same-day burial service Monday to Friday, provided we are contacted before 10am. For same day bookings, we will call back by 11am to say what time the burial can go ahead. If we are contacted after 10am, we will take a booking for the next working day. 
For further details of this service, please contact: 

  • Northumberland County Council administration office, Hexham - Tel: (01670) 624418 or 624419 

The main legal requirements in England and Wales are: 


  • The death has to be certified by a doctor or coroner. 

  • The death is registered with a registrar of births, deaths and marriages. 

  • The body should either be cremated or buried. 

  • There is no legal requirement to have any kind of funeral ceremony at all.  

The correct documentation will be given to you when the death is registered. 
In order to make the funeral arrangements, the funeral director will need: 


  • The full name of the person who has died. 

  • Their full address. 

  • Their date of birth. 

  • Details of where and when they died. 

  • Confirmation of whether the person who has died had any implants fitted, e.g. a pacemaker. 

When arranging the funeral, remember you: 


  • Can decide for yourself what form any ceremony should take. 

  • Do not have to use a funeral director, though the majority of people do as they will help you through the process and try to follow your wishes at all times - please see here for more information. 

  • Can choose a religious, non-religious or civil ceremony. 

  • Do not have to use a clergyman unless you and your family want a religious service. 

  • Can choose a service that reflects any religious beliefs or multi-cultural traditions. 

  • Do not have to hold the funeral ceremony in a licensed building - for example, it can be held in your home. 

  • Do not have to choose a service that takes place in a crematorium or place of worship - you could have a service in a town hall or even in a local social club if you are granted permission.  


There are different types of funerals to choose from as an alternative to traditional services, burials and cremations. Your funeral director, if you choose to use one, can advise you on these. We have outlined the main options below. 
Every family is different, and their funeral arrangements can reflect this. You might choose a religious service or to follow cultural traditions. Perhaps you will strictly follow the personal wishes of the deceased. Either way, funerals can be personalised to suit your preferences.  . 

Civil ceremonies are created with the help of civil funeral celebrants and are personalised to the wishes of the family and friends. It is a dignified yet formal non-religious ceremony and is appropriate to cremations as well as burials at a burial ground, but not in religious buildings. 
Each civil funeral ceremony is completely unique to the deceased. The eulogy, delivered by the funeral celebrant or any of the family or friends, forms a major part of the ceremony and is created in partnership with the family. 
A civil funeral ceremony can be arranged by contacting Civil Ceremonies Ltd to check availability, date, time and venue. Contact them by: 


A humanist funeral is a non-religious ceremony that celebrates the life of the deceased and can include readings, poems and music.
If you are having a non-religious ceremony at the crematorium, please contact us and let us know at least two days before the ceremony. We will then arrange for the crucifix at the crematorium to be covered for the service.

Many people choose to use the services of a funeral director to organise the majority of the funeral arrangements. 
However, you can make all the arrangements yourself, including the provision of a coffin and transportation of the deceased to the crematorium or cemetery. Copies of all the necessary forms are available from the crematorium and the staff will be happy to assist you. 


Following a death, if there are no relatives willing or able to make funeral arrangements, we may have a duty to help under the Public Health Control of Disease Act 1984. We aim to comply with the requirements of the act in a sympathetic manner, making all the appropriate funeral arrangements. 
Where possible, we will recover expenses from the deceased's estate to limit the costs to our residents. Every effort is made to try and find a will or any other documents that indicate the existence of any relatives, religious beliefs or funeral preferences. 
Unless it appears that the deceased would have been against cremation, funeral arrangements will be made with the funeral director nominated by us for a cremation service. If the deceased had left paperwork or advised family or friends they wanted to be buried, suitable arrangements will be made. 
To view statistical information on Public Health Funerals, please click on this link 


This is a natural burial and helps create new woodland. It allows people with environmental concerns who are committed to preserving it a way of giving something back to nature after their death. 
There are two established woodland burial sites in Northumberland: Fairmoor Cemetery in Morpeth and Prestwick Cemetery in Ponteland. 
All woodland burial plots are single depth to keep disturbance in the area to a minimum and will accommodate one burial. Burials in this area will only be permitted in biodegradable coffins or shrouds of natural fibre. 
Once the ground has settled following a burial, a small tree can be planted at the head of the grave if requested. 
The woodland area will be managed as traditional woodland and no horticultural chemicals will be used. This will encourage and protect wild flowers and wildlife. 
Therefore, in order to discourage people from walking on grave plots and to allow the area to develop naturally, memorials or other markings will not be allowed on individual grave plots. 
This includes the placing of floral tributes or other arrangements after funeral flowers have wilted and no paths will be constructed in the woodland area. 

Definition of resident/non resident 
Resident fees apply to anyone permanently residing within the boundaries of the county at the time of their death, e.g. in their home or in a residential/nursing home. 
Non-resident fees apply to anyone who wanted to be buried or cremated in a County Council premises, but at the time of their death was living at a permanent address external to the County boundaries. 
The Head of Neighbourhood Services has the authority to apply discretion in cases that do not fit easily into these categories. 

The need to exhume is not a common occurrence. However, when exhumation is required, it must be done with dignity, respect and with all of the necessary legal licences and documents. It is unlawful to disturb any human remains, including cremated remains, without permission. 
There are three categories of legal exhumation: 


  • Under a Ministry of Justice licence, environmental health practitioners (EHPs) are required for this type of exhumation. 

  • Ecclesiastical/religious faculty (where remains are exhumed from holy ground). 

  • A coroner's order.  


What you can do 
A family making a request for personal reasons should contact bereavement services on 01670 352107 for advice and support. 


Here you can find information and advice regarding someone’s will and estate.

A will ensures you can help those around you and your property is dealt with how you want. Without a will, the law dictates what happens to your possessions when you die. No account will be given to your wishes. After all bills are paid, the person’s ‘estate’ is divided among family members under strict rules contained in the Administration of Estates Act. 
Wills don’t have to be a complicated legal process. At its basic level, it is a letter of wish of how someone’s assets should be distributed following their death. There are other conditions to be considered if there are children and relatives involved. 
Although it isn’t necessary for a solicitor to draw up a will, care must be taken to make it clear and concise to avoid long and expensive court cases. There are many books, guides and printed forms available to help you and the internet can be a great resource to download wills in a standard format from legal stationers.  


An estate is someone’s money, property and possessions. If you are dealing with a person’s affairs, you must first find out whether they left a valid will. This will inform you of their wishes regarding the distribution of their estate. 
An ‘executor’ is the person chosen in the will to sort out the estate and follow the wishes of the will. 
You may wish to use a solicitor to deal with someone’s estate for you or if the deceased had already instructed a solicitor to act on their behalf. Always establish a solicitor’s charges before you choose them. 

Probate is the process of officially proving that a will is valid. If the deceased didn’t leave a will this process can still apply, with the grant called letters of administration. 
If you are entitled to deal with someone’s estate, you may need to apply for a Grant of Representation. This legal document allows you to carry out the wishes of the deceased and can be shown to anyone holding a person’s assets, for example banks. 
It is advisable to check with a solicitor first, as this isn’t always necessary. The probate office will send forms, along with guidance for completion and relevant fees. They will issue the grant if the deceased left a will. If there is no will, the office will grant a letter of administration. 
It may not be necessary to obtain a grant of probate where possessions are in joint ownership and are passing by survivorship. A death certificate may be sufficient enough for the joint holder to receive the money they are entitled to. 
Certain institutions may also release the money if it is a small amount. Staff at probate registries can offer guidance on how to obtain a grant but they cannot provide legal advice. 
For more information, and to receive the relevant forms, please call us on 0845 302 0900 or visit the websites below: 


This section provides information and advice on the financial help and assistance available for funeral costs.

If you are the person responsible for arranging a funeral, you must ensure the bill is paid. Funeral costs may be paid using money from: 


  • The estate of the deceased. 

  • A funeral scheme or prepaid funeral plan the deceased may have been paying into. 

  • A life insurance policy or pension scheme. 

  • The bank or building society of the deceased, if they agree to release funds to pay for the funeral costs. 

  • You or the executor - you may be able to recover the money from the estate later. 


More information on burial and cremation fees can be found here
Memorial fees can be found here. 

Financial help is available to help cover funeral costs of a family member. If you feel the costs are too high, and you or your partner receive any of the following benefits, you may be eligible: 


  • income support 

  • income-based jobseekers' allowance 

  • income-related employment and support allowance 

  • pension credit 

  • housing benefit 

  • council tax benefit, or if the council taxpayer where you live gets a second adult rebate because you are on a low income 

  • working tax credit, including a disability or severe disability element 

  • child tax credit at a rate higher than the family element 


Funding decisions will take into account: 


  • Your relationship with the person who died. 

  • Any other money, other than your personal savings, that may be available to help with the cost of the funeral. 


To find out more about funeral payments, please view the GOV.UK website or go to the Department for Work and Pensions’ funeral payment webpage. 

Financial aid is dependent on your age and whether your deceased husband, wife or civil partner paid national insurance contributions. You may be able to get one or more of the following bereavement benefits: 


  • bereavement payment, a one-off tax-free payment 

  • bereavement allowance, a weekly benefit which can be paid for up to 52 weeks 

  • widowed parent's allowance, a weekly benefit if you are a widow, widower or your civil partner has died, and you have a child or a qualifying young person aged between 16 - 20 

  • social fund - help may be available from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) if you don’t have funds 

​In Northumberland, we have a dedicated DWP/benefits team available to give guidance and advice to bereaved relatives regarding benefit entitlements. They can arrange to visit you in your own home. 

The Citizens Advice Bureau 
Helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice. 


National Association of Funeral Directors 


National Society of Allied Independent Funeral Directors