A certified death certificate is necessary before anything can be done. A death certificate can be obtained through a funeral director. It is a good idea to obtain multiple copies of a death certificate as most agencies require a certified certificate and not a photocopy.
Pennsylvania Department of Health -Death Certificates Information:
Before the business and legal issues of the estate can be pursued, it will be necessary to obtain certified copies of the death certificate. You can order them from the funeral director or directly from the Registrar of Vital Statistics in your area. It is always better to order a few more than what you think you will need. Most agencies will only accept certified death certificates and not photocopies.
Certified copies are $6.00 each and only available locally for 90 days after the death has occurred. After that, the certificate is filed with the state and certified copies will be $9.00 each and may take 16-20 weeks to obtain.
If you order certificates online, the turnaround time may be shorter. An additional $10.00 service fee per each application will be charged.
Below is a list of organizations normally requiring a legal* copy of the death certificate:
- Airline bereavement discounts
- Bank accounts
- Certificates of Deposit
- Credit Unions
- Executor/executrix of the estate to probate the will
- Fraternal organizations burial benefits
- Veteran’s benefits
- Life insurance policies
- Motor vehicle bureau
- Pre-need trust
- Pension plans or IRA funds
- Sale of jointly owned property
- Stocks, bonds and government Bonds
- Union benefit plans
- Federal & State Income Tax Returns
* A certified copy from the local Registrar or the Department of Vital Statistics in New Castle, Pennsylvania.
Photocopies are not acceptable.
Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or call 877.724.3258 to learn more.