Why is a Death Certificate Necessary?

Why is a Death Certificate Necessary?

A death certificate is an official legal document issued by the state government when someone passes away. The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in every Australian state is responsible for recording all deaths that occur. A death certificate is separate to the cause of death certificate supplied by a doctor at the time of death.

Having a loved one’s death certificate is important, as you will need it for a variety of purposes, such as managing their finances and various legal matters. It can take some time for the state registry to issue the certificate depending on the circumstances of the death. In these cases, you may be given an interim certificate while the state coroner undertakes any necessary investigations.

What Details are in a Death Certificate?

A death certificate is typically completed with the assistance of your funeral director. The law requires basic information to be included in the death certificate including the deceased’s:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Residential address
  • Place of birth (city and country)
  • Place of death (full address of hospital or residence)
  • Occupation during working life
  • Parents’ names and occupations, including mother’s maiden name
  • Marital status at time of death
  • All marriages (place of marriage, full name of spouse, age at the time)
  • Children’s names, dates of birth and ages
  • Place of burial or cremation
  • Religion (if applicable).

Your funeral director will register the death after the funeral has taken place. A death certificate usually requires the signature of a medical professional (a physician, coroner or medical examiner) who will certify the cause of death, time of death and identity of the deceased. The funeral director will also sign it to confirm the person’s body was properly handled.

When is a Coroner Involved?

When someone passes away, it must be reported to the state coroner if the death:

  • Occurred unexpectedly
  • Involved violent, unusual, unnatural or unknown causes
  • Happened within 24 hours of being discharged from a hospital or after seeking emergency medical treatment at a hospital.

Depending on the circumstances of death, a final death certificate may be unavailable for 12 months or longer while the coroner conducts an investigation and compiles their findings.

The Impact of Not Having a Death Certificate

Insurance policies (such as life insurance, superannuation, mortgage or credit card insurance) may withhold paying out policies until a final death certificate has been released. This can cause major delays when dealing with the estate and contribute to the stress and financial burden of the situation. Some funeral directors may be able to alleviate this stress by offering payment plans so you can continue to make the necessary arrangements.

Experienced Funeral Directors in Maitland

Arranging a funeral can be a daunting task, but the compassionate and professional team at Fry Bros Funerals are here to help you every step of the way. We can help you plan a meaningful funeral in Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley and all surrounding areas. Call us on 02 4933 6155 or contact us online.