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Death Certificates – what do you need to know?

by | Jul 10, 2022 | Wills & Estates

Recently the Victorian Probate Office issued a notice advising that from 11 July 2022, there will be two types of Death Certificates issued by Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria – one being a ‘Death Certificate’ and the other being a ‘Death Certificate – Cause of Death’.

The second purpose of the notice was to advise legal practitioners that for any death registered after 11 July 2022, a ‘Death Certificate – Cause of Death’ is to be used for any application for a Grant of Representation whether it be for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.  Any interim Death Certificates or those not stating the cause of death will not be accepted.

When do you need a Death Certificate and when do you need a Death Certificate – Cause of Death?

An executor, administrator or even a next a kin will likely need a Death Certificate to be able to administer the estate and deal with the assets of the deceased.

If a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration are needed from the Supreme Court to deal with the assets (such as real estate or bank accounts, etc), then the Death Certificate – Cause of Death is included in the application lodged with the Probate Office.

Whether you need to make that type of application is a something you should seek our advice concerning.

How do you register a death in Victoria?

A Death Certificate will only be issued by Births, Deaths & Marriages after a death is registered.  This process is usually dealt with by a medical practitioner in terms of completing a Medical Certificate Cause of Death Form and also by a funeral director who will generally include the death registration and application for the death certificate as part of their services once there has been a burial or cremation completed.

What do you need?

As discussed above, a medical practitioner is required to provide a Medical Certificate Cause of Death and Death Registration Form which will be completed by your funeral director.

When a death is registered, there is certain information that must be provided to Births, Deaths & Marriages.  Generally, when you meet with a funeral director, they will obtain the following information about the deceased to assist with the Death Registration Form:

  • Full names (inc maiden name) and any known aliases;
  • Residential address;
  • Occupation;
  • Date and place of birth and if born overseas, when they arrived in Australia;
  • Marriage or relationship information;
  • Full names (inc maiden names) and dates of birth for any children; and
  • Full names (inc maiden name for mother), dates of birth and occupations of their parents.
How do you get a Death Certificate?

Once the death is registered with Births, Deaths & Marriages, your funeral director should submit the application for the Death Certificate directly.  The time for these to be issued can vary anywhere from 1 week to 2 months.  If the coroner is at all involved, you can obtain an interim Death Certificate which includes all information necessary except the cause of death.  Once the cause of death is determined or the coroner has finalised the matter, an application for a Death Certificate can be made.

How can Nevett Ford help?

We have assisted our clients with the administration of deceased estates for many years and understand the confusion and stress the death of a loved one can cause.  We hope that this information helps to ease your mind when it comes to Death Certificates as it is usually a process taken out of your hands in the hands of your funeral director.

If you would like further information regarding the administration of deceased estates or your responsibilities as an executor or administrator, please do not hesitate to contact our Wills and Estates Team on +61 39614 7111 or by email at melbourne@nevettford.com.au.