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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

You Might Need 20 Copies Of Your Loved One’s Death Certificate

There are a lot of strange things you will have to do when a loved one dies, and handing out copies of their death certificate is one of them. You may need around 20 copies of your loved one’s death certificate in order to settle his or her estate.

A death certificate is a government form filled out by the funeral home or mortuary at the time of death. The certificate includes information on the cause of death, location of death, time of death, and personal details about the deceased. The government uses the form to compile statistics on causes of death, the spread of disease, crime rates, and average life expectancies.

You will need copies of the form in order to prove that your loved one has died and you are administering their estate, or are due certain benefits. You will need a copy to give to financial institutions where your loved one had an account, and will also have to provide a certificate to collect things like life insurance proceeds, Social Security benefits, veterans benefits, etc. If the loved one was your spouse, you may need to provide a copy of the death certificate in order to get a new marriage license some time in the future.

The easiest way to get all the copies you will need is by asking the funeral home or mortuary for them at the time of death. To be on the safe side, we recommend getting 10 to 20 copies of the certificate. If you pay for copies of the death certificate out of your own pocket, keep track of these expenditures since you can seek reimbursement from the estate.

If you need to order more copies at a later date, each state, and sometimes each municipality has its own process for issuing copies, and they all charge a fee for doing so. In South Carolina, records are held by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, and can be ordered in person, by mail or phone, or online. In North Carolina, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Vital Records office holds copies of all the state’s death certificates going back to 1930. Copies can also be requested from the Register of Deeds (ROD) office in the county where the death occurred.

If you need assistance obtaining or distributing copies of your loved one’s death certificate, our firm is here to help. Contact an estate planning attorney today.


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| Phone: 803-594-4453
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| Phone: 704-369-9977

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