When someone dies, obtaining a death certificate as soon as possible is a must. But what's a death certificate?
Put simply, a death certificate is an official government document that acknowledges and confirms the death of a person. It includes the cause, location, date and time, as well as other relevant personal information about the deceased, such as full name, date of birth, social security number, address, marital status, and more.
Death certificates must be signed by a medical practitioner – which may be a doctor, medical examiner, nurse, coroner, etc. – as well as a licensed burial agent or funeral director.
Death certificates can be issued to immediate family members such as spouses, parents, children, siblings, legal guardians, and grandchildren. They can also be received by executors or state and federal agencies that require it for official purposes.
Why do you need a death certificate?
A death certificate is required to handle the affairs of the deceased. For instance, most agencies and institutions will ask for a copy of a death certificate if you want to shut down an account, file taxes, or collect benefits.
Usually, only copies of the death certificate are required, but several legal matters may require the original official certificate. For social security, banking, phone companies, and utilities, a copy is usually required. However, for insurance, pensions, property transfers, property claims, military benefits, 401Ks and stocks, future marriages, and businesses, the official death certificate is usually mandatory.
Where can you get death certificates from?
There are different means to secure a death certificate. Ordinarily, the original death certificates are sent to the funeral home handling the services who distributes them to the family. Thereafter, you can get it from the vital records office of your state or the county clerk’s office.
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Today many of us are so attached to our mobile phones that we carry them around every moment of every day. These devices have more or less become an extension of us. However, as attached as we may be, there are some places and instances where it is disrespectful and impolite to use our phones. One such example is a funeral.
A funeral is a personal and sacred event where loved ones pay their respects and say their goodbyes to someone who has passed. As such, certain etiquettes need to be followed, even when it comes to mobile use. We discuss these etiquettes below.
Don’t use unless absolutely necessary
Generally, cell phone use should be limited at funerals. If you are always texting, scrolling through social media or taking phone calls, it is considered extremely disrespectful to the family of the deceased and the memory of the departed as well. Put simply, don’t use your phone unless it is crucial. If you do have to take or make urgent calls or send texts, make sure to excuse yourself and step outside politely.
Keep your phone on silent mode
Always keep your phone on silent mode when you are at a funeral. Sounds coming from your phone such as ringing sounds, notification sounds, etc. can be very disruptive and distracting at solemn events such as funerals. Remember to keep it on silent, and not vibrate, as the vibrating sound can still be audible.
Avoid taking pictures/selfies
Taking pictures or selfies, whether it is of you, you and your friends, of others, the casket, etc., should be avoided at funerals. This can be considered an invasion of privacy, unless you have permission from the family to click snapshots with your phone. Also, if you have permission to take photographs, be quick and don’t distract the other guests. And don’t forget to silence the sounds.
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A funeral is an important ceremony that allows people to say their final good-byes to a loved one who has passed away. As such, there are many significant decisions that need to be made while planning the funeral.
Some of the most significant decisions regarding funerals include whether the body should be buried or cremated, where to bury, where to scatter ashes, whether a certain religious tradition should be followed, etc.
These decisions make up your funeral, and if you haven’t already left instructions or decided on who should make choices on your behalf, it’s time you consider it. If you have made your wishes known, then it is a statutory obligation for your survivors to honor those wishes.
There are various ways a person can make their funeral preferences known, including who will make the decisions. Some of these include a Living Will, a Last Will and Testament, as well as other legal documents such as Disposition Authorization Affidavit, Authorization for Final Disposition, or Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains.
Keep in mind--If there are no instructions left by the deceased
If you do not leave behind any instructions or preferences regarding your own funeral, then the responsibility to make these decisions fall upon your nearest relative. This could be your husband, wife, children, parents, sister, brother, etc.
To qualify as a relative who can make decisions regarding a funeral, a person must be over 18 years old. First, the spouse or domestic partner is considered, after which the children are prioritized. If neither of these is present or available, then parents, siblings, authorized guardian, grandchildren, aunts and uncles, and even cousins can qualify as next of kin and make decisions regarding a funeral.
In some situations, a very close friend of the deceased can even be considered as next of kin if blood relatives are not available.
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When a loved one dies in a foreign country, it can be easy to worry and feel helpless. What do you do to get the remains back? Who do you have to contact for help?
Depending on the country of death, local protocols can be very different. However, there are three main steps that you have to follow if a loved one dies in a different country.
The first thing you can do is contact your embassy or consulate in the country where the death occurred. They will help you get in touch with the foreign offices so you can get the remains back safely and as quickly as possible. They will also provide you with instructions on how to send the funds required to cover the costs.
Apart from making arrangements for the return of the remains, they will also issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad, a legal document with important details of the passing.
In addition to the Consular Report of Death Abroad, there are many documents that you need to get the remains back home. These may include a Foreign Funeral Affidavit, a Consular Mortuary Certificate, a Transit Permit, etc.
Depending on the country of death, the rules may be different regarding who can claim the body and sign the required paperwork. So, make sure to work out these details with your consulate or embassy so you can decide if you need to go abroad.
While the foreign side of the process will be taken care of the consulate or embassy, a trusted funeral home in the US can help you with arrangements back home. Always make sure that the funeral home you choose is willing to accommodate the time differences.
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When someone dies, their loved ones handle their important financial and legal works. But one thing that many people tend to forget, although everyone has them, are social media accounts. In today’s 21st century digitized world we live, what do you do with someone’s social media accounts after they die?
Google has what is known as Inactive Account Manager, which enables the account holder to set a time period, after which the account will be automatically deleted or designated to someone else if it is inactive for that selected time period. This can be three, six, nine, or twelve months. But if the account holder has not used this option, you can directly contact Google to manage the account of the deceased. Although the company won’t give out passwords, it does entertain requests to close accounts.
The Facebook account of someone who has died can either be memorialized or deleted. Memorialization is a common option, as it keeps all the posts from the account visible, and friends can post on the timeline depending on the settings. The word “Remembering” is placed next to the name. Memorialization requests can be made in the Help Center page of Facebook.
Another option is to delete the account, which would require you to provide documents to prove that you are either an immediate family or estate executor of the deceased. You can then send a request to Facebook to delete the account.
The Twitter account of someone who has died can be permanently deleted. However, you need to prove you are an immediate family or the executor of the estate of the deceased. You will have to submit documents like a death certificate and your own ID.
Like Facebook, an Instagram account can either be deleted or memorialized. However, deletion can be requested only by immediate family members, for which you will have to provide proof
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