Declaration of Death

A declaration of death is an official government document that confirms that a person has ceased life, based on the assessment of clinical signs, absence of vital functions, and other relevant medical criteria.

Every state provides these types of documents, and they are typically filed by a service professional, such as a doctor, nurse, EMT, police officer or firefighter.

The creation of a declaration of death form begins the process of officially recognizing and documenting a person's death. "Pronouncement" refers to the date and time the deceased was found to be legally dead (the time a person may have actually died).

A declaration of death form serves several purposes including:

Legal documentation: A declaration of death provides legal proof of a person's passing, which is required for various administrative and legal procedures. This includes obtaining a Death Certificate and initiating the Probate process required to Settle the deceased's Estate.

Notification of authorities: Once the declaration is made, it initiates the notification of relevant authorities, such as the local Registrar of Vital Statistics, a county Coroner or Medical Examiner (if necessary), and other appropriate state agencies.

Release of the body: The declaration of death allows for the proper handling of the deceased person's body, including transportation to a Funeral Home for Funeral arrangements and Final Disposition, such as Burial or Cremation.

While a declaration of death is an initial declaration made at the time of death to confirm the person's passing, it is different from a death certificate, which is an official document issued later in the process that serves as legal proof of the death, and provides detailed information about the deceased person's identity and cause of death.

Also known as a Pronouncement of Death.