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Julie Garber

How Many Death Certificates Do You Need?

By March 21, 2012

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When I meet with a client who needs assistance with settling a loved one's estate, a common question I'm asked is how many death certificates should be requested. Because just about every institution that the deceased person dealt with will need to see a death certificate - and many will require an original certificate and not just a copy - I recommend that at least 15 should be ordered. This should be plenty and hopefully leave a few to spare. Another tip that I learned from a client - always keep an original death certificate in your wallet so that you can produce it when asked. This will save you time and cut down on the frustration you will certainly feel when settling your loved one's final affairs.

February 7, 2014 at 6:55 pm
(1) Wendy says:

I’ve been handling my husband’s affairs for 5 weeks now & have dealt with many institutions, banks, brokerages, etc. I ordered 8 original certificates and so far have only had to hand over one. Everyone else is content with either a scanned copy, faxed copy or they just need to SEE the original and copy and return it to me. I don’t know what the future holds, but that’s been my experience so far.

February 8, 2014 at 11:00 am
(2) Julie Ann Garber, Esq. says:

Wendy, please accept my condolences on the loss of your husband. Thank you for writing about your personal experience since this will be helpful to other readers of this blog.

Having practiced in estate and trust settlement for 18 years, I can say that your experience is unusual, but as with anything dealing with estate and trust settlement, each situation is different. The reason I recommend ordering 15 certificates is because it is sometimes a hassle to go back and request additional ones, so you may as well order plenty at the beginning.

Best regards,

Julie Ann Garber, Esq.
Guide to Wills & Estate Planning
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The information contained in this comment is not legal or tax advice and is not a
substitute for legal or tax advice. For legal advice, please consult with an
attorney. For tax advice, please consult with an accountant or tax attorney.

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