Why You Need to Obtain a Death Certificate After the Death of a Loved One

The death certificate plays a vital role after the death of a family member. Funeral directors, medical professionals, and other service providers are responsible for completing the death certificate.

Once the death certificate is registered, family members and other interested parties can obtain copies required to address a wide range of legal concerns. 

What Information is Included in the Death Certificate

The death certificate consists of information about the deceased individual, including their date and location of birth as well as their name and address.

Information related to the deceased person’s parents, education, marital status, and benefits they were receiving may also be included. Benefits include those resulting from military service and Social Security.

In order for the death certificate to be finalized under the law, it must be signed by a coroner or a medical professional. This makes it an official document outlining the cause, location, and date of death.

Once the death certificate has been finalized, it can be entered into the state’s records after being filed with a registrar. This allows certified copies to be distributed to family members and legal representatives.

When obtaining a certified copy, make sure that it includes an official seal along with language indicating that it is a certified copy.

How Family Members and Attorneys Can Obtain a Death Certificate 

Under Georgia state law, only individuals who have a direct interest can apply to receive a copy of the death certificate. In most cases, these individuals consist of family members and their attorneys. 

In Georgia, any requests from the vital records system must include a signature and photo identification from the individual requesting a copy. 

The following are forms of identification that you can use to obtain a death certificate: 

  • A current driver’s license or identification card issued by the state or one that has been expired for no longer than one year
  • A current driver’s license issued in a different state
  • A current passport
  • An official United States military identification
  • A student identification card
  • An employment identification card
  • A bank debit card that includes a photo

Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help you obtain a death certificate and provide the information you need to avoid delays.

The Benefits of Obtaining a Death Certificate

Death certificates can be used to resolve legal issues related to the estate of the deceased family member. 

Claims involving pensions and life insurance may also require family members to provide certified copies of the death certificate.

If a loved one is left as the surviving owner of a financial account that grants the right of survivorship (ROS) or is deemed payable upon death (POD), banks may require a death certificate to transfer ownership.

The death certificate can be used to inform creditors of a loved one’s passing. An attorney can help you navigate these and other complex issues and ensure that you obtain the documentation you need.

Outstanding balances can be paid off through existing insurance coverage. But you’ll need to provide a death certificate to resolve financial debts with creditors. 

Understanding the importance of having a certified copy of the death certificate can help you and your family members address legal and financial issues. 

There are rules in place that govern how death certificates must be completed and filed, and having an attorney who can represent your family’s interests will help you comply with Georgia state laws after the death of a loved one.