There are several different reasons for needing a death certificate. You can learn more about why you need one by clicking here.
Birth certificates prove someone’s birth, while death certificates prove a person’s death. While each serves a different role, both are essential.
When a close loved one dies, there are many reasons for needing a death certificate, which is why you should get one as soon as possible.
If you’re wondering what the reasons are, continue reading to learn about the top nine reasons you might need one.
- 0.1 1. To Collect on a Life Insurance Policy
- 0.2 2. To Access Pension Benefits
- 0.3 3. To Close Bank Accounts
- 0.4 4. To Handle the Person’s Funeral Arrangements
- 0.5 5. To Get Remarried
- 0.6 6. To Settle the Person’s Estate
- 0.7 7. To Complete a Tax Return
- 0.8 8. To Apply for Health Insurance Benefits
- 0.9 9. To Handle Financial Matters
- 1 Learn More About the Reasons for Needing a Death Certificate
1. To Collect on a Life Insurance Policy
If your loved one left a life insurance policy, you could not collect on it without a death certificate. The insurance company needs a death certificate for several reasons:
- To prove that the policyholder died
- To find out the cause of death
- To see the date of death
A death certificate is an official document that states several critical things about the person who died. First, it says the person’s name and birth date. Next, it indicates the date the person died, and finally, it tells the cause of death.
Life insurance policies often have exclusions, which means they are not valid for every cause of death. The insurance company must see this document to verify the cause of death before providing the payout to the beneficiaries.
Some life insurance policies also have terms. If the person did not die within the eligible time frame, the insurance policy might no longer be valid. In this case, the insurance company would not have to make a payout on the policy.
2. To Access Pension Benefits
The second reason you may need a death certificate is to collect on pension benefits the deceased individual left you. You might be eligible to collect on this pension if he or she had one before dying.
Unfortunately, you have no way of proving your rights to it without providing a death certificate.
If you are not sure you have rights to the pension, you can call the company and find out. They will require a death certificate before providing you with any money, though.
3. To Close Bank Accounts
When a person dies and has bank accounts, you cannot close them or modify them without proof that he or she died. The bank will ask to see the death certificate before proceeding with any actions to the person’s accounts.
If an account has a joint account holder, this person can access the accounts. If the accounts have no joint account holders, you must supply the bank with a death certificate to proceed with any actions to the accounts.
4. To Handle the Person’s Funeral Arrangements
It is also common for a funeral home to ask for a death certificate before proceeding with funeral arrangements. Having this certificate is especially vital if you plan on creating your loved one or transporting his or her body or ashes.
If you are not sure if you need a death certificate to handle the funeral arrangements, talk to the funeral director. He or she can provide more information about this, including where to get one and how long it takes.
5. To Get Remarried
If the person that died was your spouse, you could not get married to someone else without proof that your spouse died. You must visit your local courthouse to get a marriage license if you want to remarry.
One of the requirements for getting a marriage license is showing that you are not married. Without a death certificate to provide to the court, you may have trouble proving that you are no longer married.
Death of a spouse ends a marriage, but you still need legal proof that your married ended as a result of death.
6. To Settle the Person’s Estate
Additionally, if the deceased person left an estate of any size, you cannot begin distributing it until the lawyer has proof that this person died.
If you are a beneficiary of the estate, you may want to start working on the estate plan as soon as possible. If your goal is to settle the estate quickly, make sure you obtain a certificate of death right away.
7. To Complete a Tax Return
After a person dies, the family is required to file a tax return for him or her the following year. When you fill out the person’s tax return, you must state that this person died during the year.
In addition to stating that the person died, you may need to supply the IRS with a death certificate as evidence of the person’s death.
8. To Apply for Health Insurance Benefits
In some cases, family members can file for health insurance benefits through the government after a death in the family.
If you qualify for this benefit, you must provide proof of death to Medicare or Medicaid before they can approve your application for benefits. This benefit is not available to everyone, but it is an option in some situations.
9. To Handle Financial Matters
Finally, if the deceased individual has any financial matters in his or her name, you will need a death certificate to settle these matters.
For example, if the person has investment accounts, you need the certificate to close them. If he or she has a loan on a car or house, you will need the certificate to close the loan account.
You will need the certificate for any financial matter you must handle after your loved one dies.
Learn More About the Reasons for Needing a Death Certificate
When someone dies that you are close to, you should start working on getting a death certificate right away, because you will need it.
These are nine reasons for needing a death certificate, but there are plenty of other ones, too.
You can learn more about what a death certificate is, how to get one, and the reasons you need one by checking out our blog for more information.