What Is a Death Certificate?

A death certificate is an official and legal document that certifies the location, time, and manner of death of someone that passed. A medical practitioner or medical examiner issues the death certificate; consequently, it falls on the same day of death. After, it is turned over to a legal body to record the document. A single copy of the certificate is handed to a family member to arrange death benefits and file taxes as necessary.

According to data presented by the World Bank, 7 out of 1000 people departed from this world each year. It includes natural, comorbid, and accidental deaths.

Elements of a Death Certificate

A death certificate is a form of legal document that needs accurate information about the deceased. Persons with specific knowledge of the person’s death issue the certificate. Here are the three main sections to look for in a death certificate.

Demographics and statistics of the deceased: The section includes information related to the decedent’s name, age, race, gender, relations, disposition of the remains, and social security number. The report is supplied in the document by the funeral director.Information about the death: In this section, the attending medical practitioner, medical examiner, or coroner supplies the information regarding the person’s death. Two parts consist of this section. The first is to record the sequence of conditions that the deceased suffered, and the second is the contributing conditions. Information about death also includes the dates, places, times, role of tobacco, pregnancy, and manner of death. This section contains the certifier’s name, address, license number, and date of certification.Administrative section: It contains information about the person’s race, ethnicity, education, and employment. The funeral director completes this section.

Steps in Filing a Death Certificate

Supplying information of the deceased is part of the steps in filing the certificate. The detailed process of filing a death certificate is listed below.

Step 1: Preparation of the Certificate

When the death occurs in the hospital, the immediate physician must supply the necessary information on the prepared death certificate. The certificate is transferred to the funeral director afterward.

Step 2: Authorization by the Funeral Director and Certification of Physician

After supplying the remaining information, the funeral director obtains authorization for final disposition under State law. The funeral director submits the certification with a local office or state office under State law. The physician concludes the last section and duly signs the certificate.

Step 3: Verification of Local/State Office

The local office verifies the completion and accuracy of the certificate. The local office also makes a copy of the certificate and issues receipt of the certificate, authorized by State law.

Step 4: Transfer to city health departments

The health departments must allocate medical and nursing services, follow up on infectious diseases, plan programs, and conduct research studies based on the death certificate.

Step 5: Filing For Legal Documentation

The office of vital statistics maintains files for permanent reference and certified copies, develops data to aid plan, evaluate, and administer health activities for research, and compiles data as sources for different fields of study.

Step 6: Turn over to Government Agencies

The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Center for Health Statistics uses the certificate with plenty others to update statistical records and conduct related research.


The top 10 causes of death in the world

According to the World Health Organization, ischaemic heart disease is the top cause of death, comprising 16% of the total death toll.

Other causes include:

  • Stroke
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Neonatal conditions
  • Lung cancer
  • Dementias
  • Diarrhoeal diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney diseases

Together, they account for 55% of the death toll in the world.

Health insurance concerning mortality

A study published in the American Public Health Association in 2009 showed that uninsured people are more likely to die than those that are insured. At present, most Americans have health insurance. It is essential, especially for those who are suffering from comorbid diseases. More people are turning to health insurance not only as a prevention but also as an investment. Health is indeed one of the things that one must always take into consideration. It’s the reality that we do not grow younger, and there would be complications to our health.

Do I choose cremation or burial?

The National Funeral Directors Association released data that the cremation rate increased by 8.1% from 2015. Funeral costs are generally higher than direct cremations, and opting for cremation will save money. However, burials are natural and intrinsic in most religions compared to cremations. Whichever you decide on, make sure to do proper research. There is plenty of information regarding both that would help with your decision.

Losing a family member, a relative, a friend, or a co-worker is heartbreaking. Under no circumstance is such an event easy to handle. It is hard to wake up the next day knowing that this person will not be there and won’t be part of your life. It’s important to give yourself the best care to ensure a healthier and happier life. You owe it to yourself and others to live your best life. As Ernest Hemingway once said, “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” Life is a gift, and we should treat it as such.