If you have never had to plan a funeral service in Bellingham, WA., most likely, you will have a lot of questions. From planning the funeral arrangements to getting your loved one’s affairs in order afterwards, this can be a difficult process to navigate. One important thing you will need to obtain in order to move forward on these steps is the death certificate.
We are going to break down everything you need to know about getting a death certificate and why you need one so that you feel more confident about this important step.
What is a Death Certificate?
A death certificate is a legal document that states the details of the person’s death. These details include the date, location, and cause of death of the deceased. Other information may include the deceased’s last known address, the medical examiner’s signature, spousal information, and the deceased’s occupation.
The death certificate can be issued by the medical examiner, or a government civil registration office and is submitted to the state’s vital records office. You can often obtain a certificate through the funeral home or by requesting it from the vital records office. Note that it can take up to a few weeks to receive the document and there are often times restrictions on who can request it.
How To Prepare the Death Certificate
Many times when working with a funeral home, the funeral director will handle prepare the certificate. The funeral home will need to be provided with information about the deceased such as their social security number, father’s name, mother’s maiden name, marital status, occupation and industry, and spousal information.
Once the death certificate is prepared, it will be submitted to the health department vital records office. Local laws determine timelines, but on average, the certificates are submitted within 72 hours after death.
Obtaining a Certificate
If the funeral home prepares the certificate, they typically are able to provide you with a couple of certified copies for your records. If you need additional copies you can submit a request to the vital records office.
Although each state can dictate who can request a death certificate, it typically falls to immediate family such as parent, sibling, child, or spouse. Also included is the legal executor of the estate.
When requesting the copy, you will need to show proof of your identity as well as proof of your relationship to the deceased. Items to confirm your identity could include your driver’s license, state issued ID card, or passport. Paperwork that ties you to the deceased could be things like marriage licenses, or your birth certificate.
When You Will Need the Death Certificate
Once you have the certificate, you will use it when getting your loved one’s affairs in order. Things like bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts will need proof of death to close the accounts. Some other situations when you will need it are:
- When you notify the government for social security or veteran affairs
- File a life insurance claim
- If you are claiming Medicaid benefits
- Claiming pension benefits
- Notify mortgage lenders
If you have questions about your loved one’s death certificate for their funeral service in Bellingham, WA., Moles Farewell Tributes & Crematory is here to help. Call their compassionate staff and talk with a funeral director one-on-one to have all your questions answered.