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Why does an executor need copies of a death certificate?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2019 | Firm News |

A death certificate is the legal document certifying that an individual has died. Naturally, this document is an important one for confirming the death of a person so that the estate of the deceased can be dispersed to beneficiaries. Because a Broomfield estate executor is in charge of distributing estate assets, an executor has a particular need for multiple copies of a death certificate. 

Bankrate explains that an estate executor bears the responsibility of protecting an estate and its assets so that they can be dispersed to heirs. Part of making sure assets are ready for dispersal is notifying the institutions where the decedent held accounts or pensions that the owner of those assets has died. But to do so, the executor needs to provide a copy of the death certificate. 

There are many different institutions that may require a copy of a death certificate. A decedent may have kept a checking or savings account at a local bank. Some executors need to provide copies to insurance companies or investment firms. Also, some people received veterans’ benefits or Social Security benefits while they were alive. In these cases, the executor needs to supply copies to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration. 

Because of so many possible institutions that require a copy of a death certificate, you as an executor may need to order more copies from a funeral home than you think you actually need. You may also require copies in a timely manner because government institutions need to be notified to stop paying benefits since the person receiving them has died. A death certificate copy is also needed to file the final tax returns of the decedent. 

Copies of a death certificate are not the only document an estate executor needs to acquire. Executors also need copies of a last will and testament, or trust documents if a decedent created a trust to hold assets. These duties illustrate how complicated it can be to properly process an estate. Because the duties of executors will vary, only read this article as general information and not as legal advice for your situation.