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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