Implementing an Estate Plan? You Will Need Multiple Copies of the Death Certificate.

When it comes time to implement your loved one’s estate plan, you will quickly discover that certain documents are important to have on hand. One such document is the death certificate. You will need a certified copy of this instrument multiple times throughout the estate administration process. Fortunately, obtaining copies is not difficult.

How to Obtain the Death Certificate

One way to obtain your loved one’s death certificate is to request it in person. Following is an overview of this process:

  1. Determine the county where your loved one died. For example, if he passed away in Orange County, the death certificate can be obtained from the Orange County Clerk-Recorder’s Office 60 days after the date of death. To obtain a copy less than 60 days after the date of death, request it through the Orange County Health Care Agency.
  2. Choose the location that you wish to visit. There are four locations to choose from including two in Santa Ana, one in Laguna Hills, and one in Fullerton. Office hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  3. Appear in person to request a copy of the certificate. You must present valid government-issued identification. You also must sign a statement under the pains and penalty of perjury that you are an authorized person.
  4. Authorized persons include a parent or legal guardian, a party entitled to receive a copy by court order, a member of a law enforcement agency, a representative of a government entity, a child, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner, attorney representing the estate, a person appointed by court or statute to act on behalf of the estate, and a funeral directive.
  5. If you are not an authorized person, you will receive a death certificate with certain information redacted. The redacted copy will have a statement across the top that reads “Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity.”
  6. Prepare to make a payment for the death certificate in the form of a cashier’s check, money order, cash, personal check, or credit or debit card.

In the alternative, you can also request a copy of the death certificate by mail. Interested in learning more? Come visit us! Our office is conveniently located on La Palma Avenue in Anaheim.

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