Unofficial Copy of a Death Certificate
An unofficial copy of a death certificate is a photocopy of a Certified Death Certificate issued by a state Vital Records Office or relevant government authority. It can be a photocopy, digital scan, or printout of the original Death Certificate.
Unlike an official copy which has a government seal, designs that can't be forged, and is used for high profile legal and financial tasks, an unofficial copy is used for lower-level Administrative tasks that do not include sensitive information.
Unofficial copies of death certificates are not considered legal documents, and do not carry legal authority or recognition. As such, they may not be accepted for certain official purposes, such Administering an Estate, as claiming Life Insurance benefits, or transferring ownership of property.
The acceptance of an unofficial copy depends on the specific requirements of the form and the organization or individual requesting the information. When in doubt, it's best to ask the entity requesting the information to determine whether an unofficial copy will suffice.
Unofficial copies of death certificates may be used for:
Membership and Organization Forms: Some organizations or clubs might require proof of a member's death for administrative purposes or to update membership records.
Subscription and Service Cancellations: Some service providers, such as utility companies or subscription services, may request proof of death for account closure or cancellation.
Documentation for Personal Records: Executors, Administrators, or Surviving Family members settling the affairs of the deceased person might use unofficial copies for their own documentation and record-keeping.
Local Records and Archives: Community archives, local history projects, and cultural organizations might accept copies of death certificates for historical documentation.
Genealogy Research Forms: Genealogy researchers might use unofficial copies to complete forms for family history projects, archives, or research databases.
Educational Projects: Students or educators conducting research projects might use unofficial copies for educational purposes.
Family Reunion Organizers: Family reunion organizers might request proof of death for record-keeping or to honor the memory of deceased family members.
Personal Records: Individuals managing personal records might use unofficial copies for organizing family information, personal histories, or medical histories.