Death certificates are used in public health initiatives to collect national data for leading causes of death and other statistics. They are also used to prove a person’s death, prove their will and testament, arrange burial and cremation services, claim life insurance, and more. Continue reading to learn more about death certificates and how to obtain one for your beloved family member.
All deaths must be immediately registered within a day or two, usually at a state or local Vital Statistics Office. And before a vital records office will publish and issue a death certificate, it must be signed by a licensed medical practitioner or coroner first. All of this is usually handled by the funeral home service hired, or whomever is managing the deceased’s remains. They will collect all the necessary information from the family members, obtain all the mandatory signatures, and then file all the proper documents, and all within in a matter of days. By law, this process must be completed within three to ten business days, depending on local jurisdiction.
There are two types of death certificates you can request: information or certified. Information copies of death certificates are used for personal records and reasons, while certified copies are officially stamped and used for professional purposes (i.e. wills and trusts, burial and cremation, etc.). It is recommended to ask for certified copies of the death certificate at the time of death, while still working with a funeral home. Ask the funeral director for at least ten CERTIFIED copies of the death certificate to keep for personal records. You will need a new copy for each benefit or property you must claim, including veterans, life insurance, and social security.
If the death was not recent, and you require a copy of your loved one’s death certificate, contact your local Vital Statistics Office. Expect to pay anywhere between $10 and $20 for each copy, and wait for at least three to five business days.