The Truth Behind Death Certificates and What You Need to Know

In October 10, 2016


Death certificates are the last thing on your mind when you lose a loved one, however they are one of the most important vital records. Understanding what is on a death certificate, if you need a doctor signature, or how to spot any errors on a death certificate are all crucial to settling a deceased person’s accounts, estate, and other holdings. Knowing some basic facts about death certificates will help you navigate this confusing and upsetting time with some ease, knowing you are prepared with a proper certificate.

Death Certificate Facts:

  • While the CDC has a standard form for reporting the death information (you can view it here), which is used by Coroner’s offices and such, each state will typically have it’s own unique Death Certificate format.  
  • Death was not always formally recorded like it is now. While notes were taken about deaths, a centralized recording system was not in place with a standardized form until the early 1900’s in the United States.
  • A death certificate must be registered with the local and or state vital records office when a person passes away. This typically takes a few days and copies will be quickly available to you for use in settling accounts and holdings of the deceased.
  • You can order copies of a death certificate directly from the vital records office (generally at the department of health or city/town hall where the death occurred), online through an authorized, official service like VitalChek, or have the funeral home order copies for you.
  • You should wait for the Coroner’s or Medical Examiner’s final results on cause of death before trying to order a copy of the death certificate. In order to properly close policies and such, insurance companies and some banks may require  the final cause of death be shown on the death certificate.

Why is a death certificate so important you may ask? Well, it isn’t just so you can close accounts of your loved one, it’s also so government agencies like the CDC can track diseases, connections between unhealthy habits and death, and other important factors. Many people also use death certificates to track their family genealogy. Here is some information you may typically see on a death certificate, which may vary depending upon the State issuing the certificate.

What is typically on a Death Certificate?

  • Date of death
  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Marital and/or employment status
  • Veteran status
  • Address at time of death
  • Parental birth and death information
  • Cause of death (if entitled)
  • A signature from a doctor, coroner, or medical examiner


What Issues May Happen with a Death Certificate?

  • The truth about death certificates is that they are not an exact science and they may not contain the same amount of detail or information as other vital records.
  • Doctors may refuse to sign a death certificate when they are unsure of the cause of death or they are suspicious of the cause of death. However, there are laws that prevent them from delaying a finalized death certificate without good reason. If you run into this issue with a loved one’s death certificate, you must look up your state’s law on finalizing death certificates. Many states have a 10 day limit on how long a death certificate can go unsigned.
  • The wrong cause of death may appear on a death certificate when it is unknown or could have been the result of more than one health issue.


Now that you know more about what is on a death certificate and how to get one, you can be prepared during this stressful time. If you need to order a copy of a death certificate, you can easily order online at VitalChek. Let us help you obtain the vital records you need so you can move forward.


  1. Local Funeral Home lost doesn’t have any idea where are son’s death certificate is 10 of them. What should we do about this. Should we just let somebody have 10 of our son’s death certificates what can be done about it

    1. Hello Steven. Please accept our condolences on the loss of your son. Regarding the missing death certificates, you may want to report this issue to local authorities and see if they have any suggestions on what to do next. Reach out to the funeral home again to see if they can offer further assistance in locating the missing documents. We sincerely hope you locate them.

  2. Who do we contact to get an accurate cause of death

    1. Hello Kim. Please accept our condolences regarding the death of your sister. If you are not satisfied with the information you received regarding her death, we suggest you contact the agency that issued her death certificate to determine what steps you can take to find out more.

    2. The cause of death on my daughter-in-law’s is noted as “pending” on her death certificate. The death was the result of a suicide in
      which several medications were consumed in large volumes. The Medical Examiner is awaiting toxicology reports in order to
      precisely identify cause of death. The ME states the tox report can take quite a while, then the state bureaucracy is very slow processing amendments to death certificates. Best guess is that it could be six months getting death certificate with cause of death. Local
      bank has refused to allow my son to close out his wife’s very small ($200) checking account until cause of death is on the death
      certificate. Have can they do this? The death certificate is a legal document certifying the death. Why should bank care about cause
      of death? It is understandable, of course, why cause of death is needed for life insurance companies to settle policies, most which
      have contractual language relating to suicide. But way a bank has such a need to close a plain vanilla checking account escapes me.

      Can you advise why “some banks” may require cause of death on the certificate? And, how that can be legally justified when
      producing such a death certificate could take six months to obtain? Thank you for any help you can provide.

      1. Hello Tom. We are sorry for your loss. Unfortunately I do not know the answer to your question. Has your son checked with a different branch of the bank or requested to speak with a bank executive regarding this matter? We wish him the best in getting this straightened out.

  3. How do I proceed if I encounter a refusal of doctors for no good reason at a hospital where the death occurred to sign the death certificate, and the delay is well past the timeline stated by law in my state (Michigan)? Whom should I contact to file a complaint?

    1. Hello Jennifer. Thanks for reaching out with your question. We suggest you try contacting the medical examiner’s office. They may be able to sign the death certificate or at least advise you as to your next course of action. We hope you get a speedy resolution to this issue.

    2. Why would my cousin (who’s caribg for my mom)
      Request the death certificate for my dad?

  4. I lost my husband three years ago and do to disabilities of my own I remain a dependent on him
    through the V/A widows benefits, I signed power of attorney over to the V.F.W. to try to retrieve
    money owed to us due to an over payment/re-pay issue but the V.F.W. officer said that the death
    certificate needed to be changed by the V/A doctor that issued it because it only stated cause of death being
    {cancer} not what ALL the causes could have been. This is some what irritating to me because I didn’t go the the V.F.W.
    for this reason… I went to them to help me gain the money owed by the V/A that they with held from my husband over a period of about
    8 to 10 years in the amount of $500.00 per month times 8 or 10 years… the proof is in his records in the
    finance records but getting some one to get that chapter opened and take a look at it is like pulling teeth from a
    dinosaur.I don’t understand what the V.F.W. officer is trying to get at wanting me to have the death certificate changed or to state that the cause of death
    could be just as likely the congestive heart failure as it was the cancer that ate his whole body up.
    My husband was service connected for the heart issue but not cancer… there for they don’t have to pay
    as much money… THIS IS NOT MY ISSUE! I want what the V/A/ cheated him out of by taking too much money out of his non service connected
    disability pension in the time frame of 8 to 10 years… HOW DO I ACHIEVE THIS TASK?

    1. Hello Melody. We’re sorry to hear about your situation with the VA. You may want to consider obtaining legal representation to get this issue resolved. Perhaps there are legal support groups that assist families of veterans.

  5. I requested discharge summary of my husband and the record of date of death is wrong
    He passed away October 27,2017 at nygh toronto
    But in his hospital record said he passed away November 28,2017
    Im calling and leave message to medical record department but up till now no call back yet
    I spoke to patient relation manager but still no result and now shes on vacation leave
    Its very upsetting and i dont know what to do.
    Please leave comment in regards of this matter
    Thank you

    1. Hello Evelyn. Please accept our condolences on your loss. The only thing we can suggest is that you contact the hospital again to see if there is someone else who can assist you while the patient relation manager is on leave. We hope you are able to get this resolved quickly.

  6. Who do I contact if the funeral home will not assist me in getting the correct cause of death on my mother’s death certificate I spoke with the hospice center that sign the death certificate the doctor wrote a diagnosis that was totally incorrect they told me it was up to the funeral home to contact them to have it corrected the funeral home said it had to go to the state my mom passed in July of 2017 this is now December 2017 and they say they still have not received the corrected death certificate and have no other information to offer me is there any other recourse I can take

    1. Hello Judy. We’re sorry for your loss and we’re sorry to hear about the issues surrounding your mother’s death certificate. It sounds like you have taken all the steps you can to get the error corrected without any results so you may want to consider seeking some legal guidance on this matter.

  7. My husband passed on November 12 2017 the certificate I have say’s pending and no results waiting on toxicology report I don’t understand how long

    1. Hello Elyse. We’re sorry for your loss. You may want to contact the coroner or medical examiner to find out if they can give you an estimation of when you might receive information pertaining to the official cause of death.

  8. Hi there, I just wanna ask if do I need to correct my husband death certificate on the surviving spouse name there is an error, on my last name and middle name, Do I need to correct it? What should I do? Please help.

    1. Hello Anita. We’re sorry for your loss. If you need to present the death certificate to claim any sort of survivor’s benefits, it may be necessary for you to have the error in your name corrected. You will need to contact the vital records agency that issued the certificate for information on how to get the correction made.

  9. Attempting death certificate amendment for my husband so I can receive spousal support.It is a nightmare.Phone calls go unanswered and promises with no action.Grieving and financial stress is getting me so angry.I know the VA wants me to give up.My husband was Eighty percent but without service connected disorder on death certificate nothing.Why they make it so hard is a sin an atrocity.Help our vets and their families.Please.

  10. How do I order a death certificate as his fiance

    1. Hello Vicki. Entitlement for receiving a death certificate is typically limited to immediate family members, a spouse or someone who can show legal need such as a beneficiary. We suggest you contact the vital records agency that issued the death certificate to determine if you are entitled to receive a copy.

  11. The cause of death is wrong on my mothers death certificate should I worry about it or get it changed and if I need to get it changed who should I contact .There was no autopsy.

    1. Hello Lisa. The incorrect cause of death does have the potential to cause issues so you may want to call the coroner’s office to get the cause of death updated if possible.

  12. What if the time they say my son died is different then what I seen on his death cat. cause it don’t make since cause I never new my 17 was in surgery and I never seen that he actually was dead before he was supposed to be cream mated so what is all of this about.d

    1. Hello Shanda. We’re sorry for your loss. You may want to contact the coroner or medical examiner with your questions regarding the discrepency on your son’s death certificate. They may be able to provide you with more information.

  13. How long does a death certificate take to become available (in the state of Missouri)? Isn’t there rules and policies on how long?

    1. Hello Steve. We suggest you contact the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services for more information about how long it takes for a death certificate to become available. Please click here to visit their website for contact information.

    2. Hello, my husband passed in December 2017
      He had esophageal and lung cancer. Death certicate says he
      Passed from which the cancer caused. The ‘ve turned me down
      For benefits because they say it was no a service
      Connect illness. However, it was because he got the cancer from
      Agent orange being in Vietnam and the cancer
      Caused the sepsis. How can I get the authorities
      To change his cause of death to caner. He was also 100% disabled when he passed
      So I need to get a lawyer?
      Thank you

      1. Hello Ann. Sorry for your loss. This sounds like a complicated situation so it might be in your best interest to seek legal assistance to help guide you. We wish you the best.

  14. My husbands death certificate is not correct, he died two years ago and I have been trying to
    get in touch with the doctors who signed the death certificate order to change it to read an
    accident through the VA, and they will not allow me to see the doctor, I am not a patient
    so I sat out in the waiting area for one hour and they said I could not see her, so I had
    typed up a letter and all the reports that said it was an accident and left it a few months back
    I have been calling and leaving messages for the doctor who signed it and they will not return my calls. What is my next step?

    1. Hello Bonnie. We’re sorry to hear about the problems you are encountering. Perhaps you may want to consider contacting the hospital administrators to see if they can assist you with this situation. You may also want to consider seeking legal assistance if continue to get no response. We wish you the best.

  15. I sent a copy of my wife’s death certificate to London and now it’s been missing 3weeks is this important as I think it’s lost forever now. Need advice pleases so

    1. Hello Mr. Johnston. It is possible the certificate got lost in transit. If you sent it via a service that provides a tracking number you may be able to request a search be initiated to find the lost item. You can also more than likely order replacement copies from the vital records agency in the area where your wife passed. Best wishes.

  16. How do I get the gender in my mother’s death certificate corrected. The funeral home told me it is my responsibility. I didn’t make the mistake they did.

    1. Hello Carol. We’re sorry for your loss and we’re sorry to hear about the error on your mother’s death certificate. You may need to contact the coroner or whomever is responsible for filling out the paperwork for the death certificate.

  17. Hello, I couldn’t be more disappointed at the length of time it takes to get my father’s death certificate.
    I desperately need this certificate. My brother passed away on May 10th. Couldn’t find title to his truck.
    I placed this order the following week. If there was somewhere to go to receive same day I would.
    Need it before August 8 when insurance runs out. Now I’ll have a truck no one can use or sell
    until I receive this certificate. It’s been 60 plus days. How can I track it if your system erases all the
    orders and information after 45 days. When I called last week they told
    me it was processed….so where is it? I was also told that someone would call me back in 5 days. Well its been
    10 long days and surprise no one has called. You seem to experience long delays no matter what time we call.
    Please tell me what the hold up is.

    1. Hello Sherry. Please accept our condolences for your loss. We are sorry to hear that you have not yet received the death certificate you ordered. Please contact us with your order number so we can look into this for you. The quickest way to reach us is by private message through our VitalChek Facebook page. You will usually get a response in a matter of minutes. You can also call us at 800-255-2414 or email us at We hope we can help you resolve this problem quickly and apologize for any frustration and inconvenience this delay has caused you.

  18. My aunt passed June 24, 2018. Her Death Certificate wasn’t signed until July 6, 2018 causing a financial fiasco with he social security benefits and auto payments. They deposited her social security, took the auto payments, then took the social security payment out, leaving my very frail Uncle with a negative balance and trying to make it through the month. My family stepped up to pay for his needs. Would the hospital be liable for the overdraft fees, storage for my aunt’s body, and the mental anguish of my Uncle, since there was not a reason for the delay in signing?

    1. Hello Kenny. We are sorry for your loss. Unfortunately we do not have a legal background to answer your questions. You may want to consider contacting an attorney for legal advice regarding this matter. We wish you the best.

  19. what do you do if your love one die at home and the death record has not been sign by a doctor or coroner but the coroner name have been type in

  20. I am being told by both the Hospice facility as well as the funeral home that the information on the death certificate is strictly based on what the family puts down on their form. Meaning, the family member that fills out the initial form can say whatever they want and it is treated as gospel. When I specially asked “So if my dad wrote down Donald Duck for her name, you would have typed Donald Duck on the death certificate?” The funeral home director said “Yes, we would never question a family or their motives. We would also not be able to verify what they do or do not tell us.” I just cannot believe that. There are many errors on my mothers death certificate because my dad did not want to acknowledge things. He also LIED about her having Alzheimers. She never had it, she was never diagnosed with it. He tried to act like she had it to get sympathy and to make it seem like he was “needed” more than he was. I just cannot believe that a physician would sign off a death certificate that has so many issues and errors. Why does the information on a death certificate NOT need to be verified for accuracy?

  21. I agree all information on a death certificate should always be verified, the pathologist should not put down probable cause of death, with out contacting the closest of kin, no autopsy or toxicology, or if the primary doctor refuse to sign certificate, these should be red flags.

  22. We have tried to order my grandmother’s death certificate, but unfortunately Missouri Vital Records have lost this document. We know from the funeral home record that it did exist at the time. Is there a way to recreate a document that can not be found by Vital Records?

    1. Hello Lisa. We’re sorry to hear of your dilemma. You pose a very good question. Each state sets its own guidelines for issuance of vital records so we suggest you contact Missouri Vital Records to see if they have any provisions to deal with a request like your. We hope you get the answer to your question.

  23. I got a letter from social security amount of time to send it off. I went to funeral find what was going on and the doctor hasn’t signed the death certificate. I was just wondering if I couldn’t her death certificate to get back to social security sooner I don’t know how long the doctor going to take to sign her death certificate. She died on oct 16, 2018

    1. Hello Marlene. We’re sorry for your loss. You may want o contact the doctor directly for more information on why he has yet to sign the death certificate and to explain the urgency of receiving it.

  24. What about an individual’s right to privacy? There is some information on the death certificate that should not be disclosed to all the organizations or companies/agencies who claim to need a certified copy. What can I do about that? Is it possible to get a certified copy that merely confirms an individual’s death without all the other information. Thank you for your advice.

    1. Hello Sandi. We certainly understand your concern regarding privacy issues. You may want to check with the issuing vital records agency to see if they offer a different version of the death certificate with limited information displayed.

      1. Hi I just wanted to know what can i do if i think something more happened to my brother they say he die do to a overdose on meth but i have a lot of people that where there at the time saying he was poisoned please help. It been 2 and half weeks and they already cremated his body is there anyway I can get samples to get them retested

        1. Hello Tina. Unfortunately, I am unable to answer the questions you ask. You may want to direct them to the medical personnel who were directly involved. We wish you the best.

  25. When ordering a certificate for someone who was homeless, does it matter what is listed for Address of Residence?
    A PO box is the most consistent address but not necessarily the last.

    1. Hello Janelle. Thanks for reaching out with your question. Requirements can vary from agency to agency so we suggest you contact the original issuing vital records agency (the vital records agency in the area where the person named on the certificate was born). They should be able to provide you with more information about their requirements.

  26. I live in Walker County and my Aunt passed away of natural causes and this was December 02,2018 and we and the coroner will not go to the funeral and sign none of the death certificate so we can pay for her funeral and head stone. How long will we have to wait so we can do issues also.

    1. Hello Patrick. We are sorry for you loss. Unfortunately, it is unclear what you are asking. Can you please clarify your question?

  27. Do you have a suggestion of where I can find more information for a burial location? I obtained a copy of my great-grandmother’s death certificate to get her burial information and when I called the cemetery, they could not find any record for her at all. The person I spoke with said that her burial permit would have the most accurate information on it, but I don’t know who to contact to even ask about it because she died almost 43 years ago in 1966 in a different state than where the certificate says she was buried. There isn’t a funeral home listed on the certificate, nor I can’t clearly make out the funeral director’s name, in the doubtful case they’re even still alive, let alone in practice… Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  28. My father passed a month ago. He passed in jail. It’s been a month. The company who cremated him is doing the death certificate. Since he passed in jail could that he a reason we haven’t even gotten a “pending” certificate?

    1. Hello Ashley. We are sorry for your loss. The time it takes to process a death certificate can be affected by any number of factors. You may want to contact the cremation company to see if there is a reason the certificate has not been issued yet.

  29. My husband passed away. January9th2018.i wasi
    Ncarsarated.i did not find out of my husband’s death until febuary26th2018after I was released.from jail .I tried to find I no idea what happen to my husband
    I went to get his death certificate.and was denied getting it.because of a person .who I was told was his daughter..she filed with the courts to get his medical records probate case I’m being told that there is no proof of me any being told I need proof his wife I have legalarriage certificate it’s not good enough
    What do I do to get his death certificate so I can file for my suvivalspouse benefits?

    1. Hello Melba. We are sorry to hear about your predicament. You may consider seeking legal assistance to determine if you qualify for spousal benefits. We wish you the best.

  30. My 21 year old so Bryan was shot and I’m reading hospital reports and ambulance reports and the death certificate said he died 2313 hrs the hospital says he came in and he was being given CPR on arrival with no pulse or heartbeat but. I found paper with my sons signature giving him permission for blood transfusion .They have the time on the reports 2123hrs and than it says on corner report he had surgical incisions and he main vain was cut out and gauze was left and surgical scalpel .I a mom I shaking right now can someone tell me why so many discrepancies

    1. Hello Kim. Please accept our condolences for your loss. There could be any number of reasons for the discrepancies. You may want to contact the hospital or coroner to see if than can provide clarification.

  31. Can you get in trouble for putting the wrong mother’s name on a death certificate

    1. Hello Danny. You have provided very limited information so it’s hard to say but it would more than likely depend on the laws in the area where the death took place and and if the false information was provided for nefarious reasons.

  32. My mother recently passed away at Porter Hospital in Colorado from pneumonia. When I picked up her death certificate from the funeral home, the cause of death is not listed on the certificate.. How could this happen and do I need new certificates reissued?

    1. Hello Chuck. We are sorry for your loss. You may want to contact the hospital, doctor who declared the death or coroner (if one was involved) to find out if there was a particular reason her cause of death was omitted from the death certificate. It is possible it is not required (review the laws of the state where the death occured) or it was a case of simple human error.

  33. Just curious if a person has cancer and has chemo treatments that knock out their amune system causing death by the the flue the cause of death on death certificate ? If person dies from cancer related illness should death certificate state Cancer? Thx

    1. Hello Jim. Thank you for reaching out with your question. If the state where the death took place uses the US Standard Certificate of Death, there is a place to list both the immediate cause of death and the underlying cause of death. You could contact the hospital or coroner to find out how they go about determining what will be listed as COD on the death certificate.

  34. My father in law passed away in March,his girlfriend filled out the death certificate and put herself as his wife. The Will clearly states she was not to be considered his wife.Is that illegal? And what should the family do?

    1. Hello Sherri. We are sorry for your loss. The laws regarding this may vary from state to state so we suggest you consult with an estate attorney regarding this matter.

  35. They killed my father and we never saw him or the law let us see him….they never gave us a death certificate either so I don’t know what happened. …supposedly the body they found was my dad’s and they just told us that and I have no idea who we burried…..up to now no death certificate since May 2008…

  36. I needed a copy of my parents’ death certificates when I was starting college but had to contact my family up north since that’s where she lived and died (me living in fl all my life). The copy they sent had cause of death blacked out so I couldn’t see how she died but could clearly read my father’s. My question is why was hers blacked out? I don’t have much contact with any family on either side just my immediate. If anyone could help answer that question I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

    1. Hello Crystal. You may want to contact the agency that issued the death certificate to see if they can shed any light on circumstance that may lead to a cause of death being blacked out.

  37. surviving spouse is not mention in the death certificate
    is it a problem?

    1. Hello. Thanks for reaching out with your question. The answer may vary depending on what you may use the death certificate for. You can certainly pose your question to the vital record agency that issued the death certificate.

  38. I just happened upon this information and I work at funeral home. I did not read each and every comment, but I will tell you that any issues that arise concerning a death certificate you should first contact the funeral home. They funeral home is responsible for obtaining the signature from the doctor. This is not always as easy as it seems! Doctors are SLOW when trying to get them to sign. We do try our very best and are in constant contact with them. Once it has been signed the funeral home will then file the death certificate with the appropriate clerks office (typically they are filed in the city in which death occurred unless that city does not have their own city clerk, it is then filed at the County in which death occurred). The funeral home will ask the family at the time funeral arrangements are made how many death certificates the family will want. If the family requires anymore after the funeral home has already obtained the initial number, the family can contact the clerks office themselves to obtain more (death certificates are public record in most states). You can contact the funeral home to obtain more but not all funeral home will do this for you. You will be charged again. If there is any errors on the death certificate, notify the funeral home asap! They will have to apply for a correction. The sooner the error is caught the better! The death certificate once filed at the city/county level will ultimately be sent to the State and once it has been sent to the State, that is when if there is an error and we have to apply for the correction, it can take weeks or months to receive the corrected death certificate. Understand that the Funeral home has no say whatsoever in the amount of time this takes. Same when the cause of death may be PENDING. When the death cert is Pending, the funeral home must wait until the Medical Examiner enters (amends) the cert and then applies for a correction with the State. Once it has been amended the funeral home is notified and we then will obtain them for the family. FYI: Most of the info collected for the cert is for genealogy purposes. Such as, mother and fathers name, place of birth, level of education, occupation. Most important info would be Name, date of birth and death, social security number, spouses name, address. and of course cause of death. If you feel that the cause of death is incorrect, please remember this is not a funeral home issue. you must take this issue up with the doctor who signed the certificate. The doctors name and address and lic. number is on the death certificate.

    1. Thanks for the great information.

  39. I have not received the death certificates i ordered some time ago. I PAID for 2of them with a 18.00 fee for mailing. I have not received them. My order number is UST886509US.please send these ASAP or tell me what the delay is. Thank you.

    1. Hello Diane. I think you may have ordered from a company other than VitalChek. VitalChek order numbers are nine digits long and contain only numbers (no letters). The order number you listed has several letters in it. Please check your order confirmation to verify the name of the company you ordered your certificates from.

  40. I have a question regarding what a death certificate does legally?. Should I be concerned if my brother who passed away some time ago, if any body can try to use his name fraudulently, will that raise a red flag to authorities or is it something the family would have to report/investigate? When a death certificate is issued, does that automatically put every state and federal authority on alert if someone were trying to pass off as my brother? It’s just a scary thought I have. Also, if my brother passed away before the internet, are his records then digitized? I’m just seeking reassurance and security.

    1. Hello Maria. A death certificate provides proof of death for legal purposes and may be required to access pension and life insurance benefits, to settle an estate, to get remarried, etc. Unfortunately, the fact that a death certificate has been issued does not guarantee that the deceased person’s identity is protected from identity theft. If you suspect that someone has stolen you brother’s identity, you should consider contacting the authorities.

  41. Hello- A family member recently passed, His longtime girlfriend listed herself as “partner” on the death certificate.
    She went to the funeral home and received a one of the two copies that were paid for by the family. Does listing herself as
    Partner give her any legal standing?

    1. Hello Steph. It may depend on the state that the death occurred in. You may want to consider consulting with a legal professional.

  42. Hello, I read through all of these comments to see if someone had a question that was already answered that would fit my circumstances so I would not have to waste any time, There was none really but WOW! So many problems.
    My question is Just about the Informants name (it was forged) Relationship to Descendant Is actual for the person’s name that was forged. The decedent (My Father) had no residence at the time of his death as he had been evicted by the state and was planning to move to another State but died only three days after we found a rent house, I have the paperwork corroborating this. so residency is listed as a state that he has none, also an address that is incorrect for his mailing address ( I did change the address with the post office so I would not lose his mail and so his legal address is also my own)

    This incorrect information on his certificate is causing institutions that I present it, to draw incorrect conclusions as far as Affidavits. My Father had no property, just accounts in several states. so far two different states banks have told me the small estate affidavit I have has to be from their state! LOL what? I say? That’s impossible, as requirements say the decedent has to have residency within the state on both of those places (OK and TEX) to even apply or it will be denied. My own state is where I obtained small estate affidavit legally. It has been accepted with No troubles and the title of his vehicle is now in my name in my state directly after I submitted the small estate affidavit for Texas from my state.

    My affidavit is official and states the instructions directly on the last page without exceptions. How could a bank hem and haw at it asking me ridiculous questions or telling me to get another one? I am wondering if ( as estate manager) I should try to get the death certificate residency changed to something else. He has no property or accounts in the state he passed away in, he was only there 3 days In a Hotel. His legal address of 22 years was terminated by the State of Texas By Order of the court and although he had every right to establish a new address he did not. So just as if he had gone on vacation to Hawaii or Yellowstone or anywhere and passed away, what would his residency need to have as an entry?

    My affidavit does not require residency, it is notarized and has been accepted previously, it actually states that it cannot be questioned as it is a form to establish the bearer (Myself) is exactly who I say I am and will be used to prosecute an impostor, also releases the institution of responsibility for any amount claimed by the bearer less than 100 thousand dollars.

    What do I do about these bank tellers telling me their “Thoughts” on the matter and refusing me information of accounts? I have been told more than one time by these people including a manager to go file a letter of testamentary with the courts and everything will be fine, even after I showed them to file the small estate affidavit I had to SWEAR UNDER OATH that Had not and do not intend to do that very thing and that No other probate had been started and was going to be due to the fact that there is no property, Land or homestead and no will. Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Would having the residency changed to my home state be illegal or not possible? Do I need to have the informants name Changed to a person that is present and able to sign? Or leave it forged and have the information Changed that is per tenant to the objective,gaining control of accounts, accessing life insurance policies and social security and the VA and Credit unions.

    1. Hello Larry. You may want to consider seeking some legal guidance to help you sort this all out properly.

  43. Hi. Is it true that the doctor can not sign death certificate if doctor has not seen patient for more than 3 months? Here is the exact scenario, patient was admitted to hospice on 4/5/19 and was being seen by nurses weekly until patient passed away on 7/15/19. Death certificate was asking date when patient was under doctor’s care, which is 4/5/19, and it is also the date doctor saw patient last. According to mortuary, doctor can not sign for patient because it has been more than 3 months since doctor has seen patient. I am so confused.

    1. Hello Eric. The answer to your question may vary depending on the state. You may inquire at a hospital or even at a coroner’s office to determine if this information is correct.

  44. I need to ask a question. My son died in a hospital and I did not know until I called the home where he was living to find out why he wasn’t returning my calls nor text then that’s when I found out that he had past 10 days ago. Whom do I talk to about this? I

    1. Hello Virginia. We are sorry for your loss. You can certainly inquire at both the hospital and the home as to why you weren’t notified of his passing. We hope you find answers to your concerns.

  45. The funeral home got the death certificates for me. The last digit in the deceased social security is wrong. The funeral
    director says he must send off to Austin to get correction which take up to three months. Is there a faster way?

    1. Hello Simpson. You might try contacting the vital records office that issued the death certificate to see if there is any way to expedite the correction.

  46. Thís websíte stíñks>>> very ñón helpful bíg huge waßté óf préçíóuß tímé

    1. Hello. If you placed an order with VitalChek and need assistance, please contact us with your order number.The quickest way to reach us is via private message at You can also reach us by phone at 800-255-2414 or by email at

  47. My husband was contacted by his diseased fathers pension fund saying he my husband is listed as a beneficiary they wanted his father death certificate so my husband sent it to them now they want his step mother’s death certificate however he unable to get it since she is a step mother .she died before his father .he’s tried everything. Noone will give him step moms death certificate. His step brother won’t either. In fact his step brother looted his fathers house after he died and left no will. My husband got nothing from his father because his step brother stole every thing .we are poor cannot afford lawyer. My husband disabled. His father loved him and did not want his step brother to steal his inheritance but unfortunately he died before making a will.his father named my husband as a beneficiary for something but we cannot even find out what since we cannot get step moms death certificate.

    1. Hello Maria. We are sorry to hear about this dilemma. Unfortunately, it sounds as if this will require legal assistance to straighten out. Perhaps you can find a legal professional who will take the case pro bono or charge a small percentage against whatever your husband inherits from the pension fund. We wish yuo the best in getting this sorted out.

  48. I’ve been trying to get official death certificate from funeral home. It’s been almost three months . Why is it taking so long ?

    1. Hello Cheryl. It could be that the death has not yet been officially recorded with the state or any number of other factors. Has the funeral home provided you with any possible reasons for the delay?

    2. the daughter of my deceased husband has put her mother as wife, I have ML dated to 1986 what court do I file in and what di I file for

      1. Hello Cheryl. You may want to pose your questions to a legal professional in order to get the proper guidance.

  49. I need a copy of my husbands death certificate however I will not pay you for one that is not the right one if I can get something 5hat confirms that it is him he died in the year 2002 Mr email is thx

    1. Hello Sharon. VitalChek is the order processing service for vital records agencies across the U.S. You may be able to order a certified copy of death certificate if you meet the entitlement requirements which you should if you were his legal wife at the time of his death. During the order process, you will be required to provide certain information (his name,when the death occurred, where the death occurred, etc.) If you have questions, you can contact the vital records agency in the area where your husband’s death occurred or you can contact VitalChek. You can send us a private message at, call us at 800-255-2414 or email us at

  50. What is the next course of action for us. Father died Oct 27th, we still have not received an6 death certificates from the funeral director. We have called him 12 times and have not received a return call yet. We even went to the office several times to no avail.

    1. Hello Tina. We are sorry for your loss. It may be possible that the registration of your father’s death has not been completed with the state yet and that is causing a delay. If you continue to get no respons from the funeral home, you may be able to order copies of a death certificate directly from the vital records office (generally at the department of health or city/town hall where the death occurred), online through an authorized, official service like VitalChek, or have the funeral home order copies for you.

  51. My father died on July 4th, my fathers girlfriend was tthe informant on the death certificate even though
    my brother was present at the time of my fathers
    death. The information on the death certificate is
    incorrect my fathers girlfriend deliberately lied by
    saying my father was not married at the time of his
    death ( my parents were separated) she listed
    herself as the common law wife which is not
    corrrect. I informed the funeral director and it has not been changed. My father is a military veteran and a retired post office employee. We have have had no issues with the social security administration and benefits for my mother. However the us post office is requesting an amendment to the death certificate
    What recourse do we have since the funeral director has not been helpful and my fathers girlfriend knowingly Provided the incorrect information.

    1. Hello Tracy. We’re sorry for your loss. You may want to consider speaking to a legal professional to assist you with this situation. Best wishes.

  52. Hello,
    My friend after naturalization interview was listed as dead by mistake of immigration services. We went to many offices including social security, vital records etc., but still can’t fix the pro
    Especially with credit bureaus, blocking her accounts/cards/ score is “0”
    It’s a nightmare!
    What would you suggest us to do?

    1. Hello. Sorry to hear about the issues your friend is encountering. Since your friend has already contacted the various offices without a solution, it may be prudent to seek guidance from a legal specialist.

  53. I was adopted at birth. My biological mother died in July 2019 in the state of New Hampshire, which is a closed adoption state.
    Town clerk will not give me death certificate because “according to NH Law” once I was adopted I am not considered immediate family”.
    As far as I’m concerned, JUST because my mother gave me up and refused to acknowledge my existence DOES NOT mean I cease to exist; I always was her daughter, always will be.

    I have significant health issues. My PCP and myself needs to know what generic or other health issues that need to be addressed on top of the health issues I have now.

    My mother’s husband never knew about me. To my knowledge, there is only one other relative (my aunt) knows I exist but have requested no contact and as far as I know, even my aunt never talked to my mother. (Both adopted parents have been deceased for more than 20 years).

    As I see it, my only chance is to stand before probate judge, explain the situation, provide documentation to prove I am her daughter, present letter from my PCP, and hope that I know the cause of death.

    I could request a certificate and just say I am her daughter (without mentioning I was adopted), but not sure if that would technically be lying.

    The obituary said “donations to Lupus Foundation” so my PCP thinks that may be cause of death but blood tests are inconclusive at this time.

    I already know that my biological uncle (my mother’s brother) had a major heart attack at 57 (my age now) but that was partly lifestyle. Question-is this partly why I have heart problems? Did my mother ALSO have heart problems?

    This is why I need cause of death.
    Any legal advice would be appreciated.

    1. Hello. We are sorry to hear about your dilemma. Unfortunately, we are not qualified to offer you any legal advice. You may want to consider contacting a legal professional in NH who may be able to help you obtain the documentation you need. We wish you the best.

  54. hello, my husband passed 2 weeks ago, but the family put on the death certificate that he is divorced and never remarried. we got married 2/11/2008. His family is upset that I left him because he was an alcoholic and abusive, but we were still married. is there any way that I can correct that? They were so wrong for that.

    1. Hello Jessie. We offer our condolences. You may want to seek legal representation in this matter, especially if you may be entitled to a portion of the estate or other benefits.

  55. In 2014 my wife passed away next to me in bed after a simple surgery. Long story short I started a lawsuit with this particular hospital and chain of clinics. I’m unable to state facts of the suit that took 3 years but when I read the coroner’s report it had her ethnicity wrong, weight, height and described her hair as tightly woven. Her hair was as straight as could be. I kept questioning the coroner’s office and was told the head coroner was out of the country and a substitute took over for two major cities in my state. After a year the head coroner returned and did another autopsy on saved tissue and such. My attournies said to stop questioning them as their law office uses them a lot in testimonies. This was five years ago and still drives me crazy. Did they mix files up? Are her findings someone else? I’ll never know the answer.

  56. Wow I thought me alone have problem my question is my husband pass away we was newly married so his did let be no part of funeral she fill out death certificate form with wrong year of birth, job,and he was not married or have survival spouse I went try correct it clerk say my sister have make correct she refused to do it how can correct with out her as I m beneficiary of my husband asset but with all mistake on death certificate I cnt claim any thing she busy show fake documents and claims everything need some advice

    1. Hello Natasha. We’re sorry to hear about your loss and the ensuing predicament. Since this situation is prohibiting you from collecting benefits, you may want to consult with an attorney for the proper guidance. We wish you the best in getting this issue resolved.

  57. Here in Oklahoma. Uncle died Feb 10. I personally went to Browns Funeral Home in Durant to make arrangements. Cremation was Unc’s preferred last wish. Just rec’d Certified Death Certs from funeral home. I am next of kin, executor, sole heir and informant on the Cert. Problem with it is…funeral home gave me a new last name, my first name, address, etc were correct. But they used a last name I have never heard of. How can I get them to correct this????

    1. Hello. We suggest you contact the funeral home directly to request they correct what was probably a clerical error so they can order you new certificates.

  58. Question: what do you do when a family member who has the death certificate of our grandma, won’t let anyone see it?

    1. Hello Dana. You can check with the vital records office in the area where your Grandma’s death occurred to see which other family members may be entitled to order a copy of the death certificate.

  59. I just realized that My ex husbands sister is the informant on his death certificate . She is listed as his daughter and has him as never been married. Is there anyway I can have this misinformation fixed. I worry that she may be receiving royalties that his children should be receiving

    1. Hello Keena. You may want to consider consulting with a legal professional about this.

  60. my husband passed 1/20/2020 im still waiting on death certificate i order from the funeral home all thay say we will call you when thay come in it has been over 10 weeks how do i find out if thay have been issued i live in kansas

    1. Hello. Please accept our condolences on your husband’s passing. If your husband passed in Kansas, his death record should more than likely be registered with the state by now unless there were extenuating circumstances surrounding his death that would prevent a doctor from signing the death certificate. (an investigation or awaiting results of an autopsy. If he passed in a hospital, you can contact them to see if there is any holdup with the record. You can also inquire with the funeral home to see if there is a reason for the holdup.

  61. my great grandmother’s death certificate has “DELAY” stamped upside down in the top right corner. She died of “consumption” or tuberculosis, in 1935. What does the DELAY mean?

    1. Hi Lisa. You might contact the vital records agency in the area where your great grandmother died for more information.

  62. How do we get a death certificate on my stepdad.well him and my mom never married lived together 30 years he left me and my siblings some money in the bank.His daughter will not give us a death certificate

    1. Hello Dawn. Sorry to hear about your predicament. You may be able to retain the services of an attorney and have them request the death certificate for you since you have a tangible reason for need it – being named in the will.

  63. My relative passed away just a few weeks ago,the funeral home got iwrong ,omitted ,missing and not true information on the death certificate,I should have been the person giving all the accurate data but I wasn’t provided with a form to gather this info,or even to have the chance to make corrections if necessary,surprised to see someone else as the informant,I wasn’t provided with a copy,I only saw the standard CDC Death certificate form where I spotted all this lack of inaccuracies.What can be done to fix this ?

    1. Hello Natasha. You may want to contact the vital record agency that iisued the death certificate to determine what you can do to correct the errors.

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