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What’s Needed to Get a Death Certificate

A death certificate is required after a person passes, but how does the family get one? Keep reading to learn what’s needed to get a death certificate.
What’s Needed to Get a Death Certificate
A death certificate is required after a person passes, but how does the family get one? Keep reading to learn what’s needed to get a death certificate.

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When someone dies the family must get a death certificate. Registering the death in this way is required by law. You’ll also need official copies of the death certificate to settle estate matters and close accounts. Death certificates will need to be sent to the IRS, Social Security Administration and credit bureaus as well. 

But how exactly is a death certificate created? What’s needed to file and who can do the filing? The process varies slightly from state to state, but this overview will give you a good idea of what’s typically required to get a death certificate. 

What Information is Needed to File a Death Certificate

Years ago, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a U.S. Standard Certificate of Death. It serves as a model for states and helps to standardize death certificates across the nation. For families, it provides insight into what information is needed to get a death certificate. 

You’ll need to check the state guidelines, but below is what is typically needed to complete a death certificate application. 

The deceased’s personal information. There’s a long laundry list of personal details that need to be included on the application. These details includes the deceased’s:

  • Full name
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Place of birth
  • Last address/residence
  • Military status
  • Marital status at the time of death
  • Name of surviving spouse
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Name of the informant filing
  • Informant’s relationship to the deceased
  • Informant’s mailing address

Details about the death. You’ll also need to provide certain details about the death. They include:

  • Date the death was pronounced 
  • Place of the death
  • If the location was a medical facility
  • Name of medical facility (if appropriate)
  • Method of disposition
  • Place of disposition
  • Name of funeral facility

Signature from the funeral service licensee. Disposition typically needs to be handled in some form or fashion by a funeral home. That’s why a signature from a funeral service licensee is usually required. 

Signature from an appropriate medical professional. The death certificate form needs to be signed by a doctor, coroner or medical examiner. The medical professional will also need to note whether an autopsy was performed, the immediate cause of death and any underlying causes. This is the part that can be problematic for the family. Fortunately, the funeral home should be able to help you with this. 

Who Can Apply for a Death Certificate

Essentially, whoever is in charge of the remains can file a death certificate so long as they can complete the form with all the necessary information. This is usually the surviving spouse, an adult child or next of kin.  

The funeral home can also prepare and send in the death certificate application. This is often preferred by the family since the funeral home is well versed in the state requirements, is familiar with the filing process and will have to sign off on the form. Letting the funeral home file the paperwork saves the family the hassle of having to figure everything out and doing the legwork. 

How to Request the Creation of a Death Certificate

You know the why, what and who, now let’s go over how to request that a death certificate be created. The completed death certificate order form will need to be filed with the state agency that oversees death certificate records. In most states, there’s a Vital Records office that manages death certificates, but original filings may need to be submitted with the local county health department first. 

Once the death certificate application has been reviewed and approved the death certificate will be generated. At that point the death will be officially registered with the appropriate local and state entities. If you need additional copies of the death certificate you can go directly to the Vital Records office to request them. 

At Green Cremation Texas we handle the death certificate filing for families so it’s one less thing they have to worry about. We’ll gather the necessary information, file the paperwork and have the death certificates sent directly to you. It’s cremation made simple.

Picture of Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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