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When do I get the death certificate? Who gets it? Where does it go? How do I get a death certificate?

A death certificate is part of the ordinary process associated with arranging a funeral or otherwise dealing with a deceased person. Generally, the death certificate is compiled from information provided to the funeral director from the person organising the funeral for the deceased. This person isn’t always the next of kin. Sometimes the person organising the funeral won’t know all of the details about the deceased (things like the names of the deceased’s parents, maiden names or even the names of predeceased children or living children for instance). The information given to the funeral director is then given to the department of births deaths and marriages and eventually features on the death certificate.

The death certificate will be used to support the application for a grant of Probate, which becomes a public document. The Grant of Probate is in turn based upon the Will. It is important that the deceased’s name be consistent between the Will and the death certificate. At SA Estate and Succession Lawyers we see a large number of death certificates that are incorrect as to the proper name of the deceased. Often the information given to the funeral director may have been an anglicised version of the deceased’s name or a nick name – even if it matched a driver’s license or other identity document of the deceased. If the name of the deceased in the Will and in the death certificate do not match, then the Probate application will not succeed. At SA Estate and Succession Lawyers we can assist in rectifying an incorrect death certificate so that your Probate application succeeds or get to the bottom of the deceased’s correct name. Sometimes our clients bring in Wills from other law firms to assist in a Probate application and it becomes apparent that the deceased’s name in the Will is incorrect but the death certificate is correct. At SA Estate and Succession Lawyers we can help with that too.

The death certificate, when prepared by births deaths and marriages will be delivered to the person who organised the funeral or to the funeral home.

Once a death certificate has been issued, it is a public document that anyone can request for a fee. If the original death certificate is lost, a new one can be purchased. If you need a hand in requesting or accessing a death certificate please get in touch.


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