Each state requires that a death certificate be obtained before the disposal of a body is performed such as a cremation or burial. The reason is because they want to ensure the death was of natural causes and there were no suspicious or foul play involved. When a doctor is not present at the death, the county coroner must approve the death certificate.
The other reason states require this document is strictly for statistical records. To aid in public health programs, they keep information on the mortality rates, cause of death, age, race, and other demographical information. This info is also used to help aid medical researchers who seek new cures for illnesses.
A mortuary or funeral home will complete the death certificate and get the required signature. It is permissible for an individual to gather the information and file the form as well. In some states agencies, they may be more picky than others on how the forms are filled out and completed.
Believe or not, often the most difficult part of obtaining a death certificate is getting the doctor to sign it. This is because doctors are often not in their office and when they are, they are meeting with patients. No matter who files the certificate, there is specific information that needs to be supplied.
Below is a typical list of what necessary information is required for the completion of a death certificate:
Decedent Personal Data
Full name, Date of birth, age, sex, date & time of death, state of birth, social security number, military service, maritial status, years of education completed, race, usual employer, occupation, kind of business, and years in occupation.
Informant or Who Supplied the Information
Name, relationship, mailing address
Place of Death
Place of death–street address, city, county, cause of death, time interval between onset and death, if death was reported to the coroner, biopsy or autopsy, and other significant conditions contributing to death.
Spouse and Parent Information
Name of surviving spouse–full name, Name of father–full name, birth state, full name of mother, birth state.
Residence, street, city, county, zip, years in country, state or native country
Date, place of final disposition
Funeral Director and Local Registrar
Type of disposition, embalmer ID, Funeral Director ID
Physician's name and license number, date first attended decedent, and date last seen alive.