Free Essay Sample: Death Certificates

Published: 2023-11-19
Free Essay Sample: Death Certificates
Essay type:  Definition essays
Categories:  Nursing Forensic science Medicine
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 547 words
5 min read

The death certificate contains the personal information of the deceased person. Further, the death certificate shows the possible cause of the death, time of occurrence of the death, and death location (Ruiz et al., 2018). In the United States, the death certificates' procedures and laws are different in the different states. For instance, the laws in each state describe the responsible persons of signing the death certificates. In California, state laws do not give advanced nurses the authority to sign death certificates.

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The primary purpose of a death certificate is to formalize the death of a person. The death certificate specifies the possible causes of death, and it is timely written. Moreover, the death certificate settles family affairs. According to Adams (2017), the deceased person's body cannot be given to the family for burial purposes unless there is a death certificate.

Secondly, the government and its authorities use the death certificate to stop the government's benefits, such as social security payments and Medicaid (Epstein et al., 2016). The persons related to the deceased person might claim pension benefits if the dead person was entitled to pension allowances.

Thirdly, if the deceased person had life insurance, the persons related to the dead person can use the death certificate to claim life insurance. It is the right of the dependents of the deceased to claim for indemnification from the insurer.

Moreover, death certificates are used to compile data on mortality cases. The public health persons use the statistics for reporting and further research on death's preceding causes (Foreman et al., 2016). Besides, if there are complaints about a person's death, the government uses the data to review if the death was intentionally caused. A widower can also use the death certificate to prove the deceased person's death and get married to another person. Lastly, the death certificate settles estate complaints.

In New York, advanced practice nurses have the authority to sign death certificates. Before signing the death certificate, (Ritchie et al., 2018) says that the nurses should liaise with physicians and the primary care provider to determine the death's leading cause. In case of a downplay in a person's death, the nurse who signed the death certificate is liable.

In conclusion, death certificates are essential documents to the governments and the families of the deceased persons. Furthermore, death certificates should be timely and accurately written. The data collected from death certificates should be well stored and accessible to the government and the public.


Adams, V. (2017). Dying: What happens to the body after death? In Dying and Death in Oncology (pp. 23-30). Springer, Cham.

Epstein, L., Dantes, R., Magill, S., & Fiore, A. (2016). Varying estimates of sepsis mortality using death certificates and administrative codes—United States, 1999–2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(13), 342-345.

Foreman, K. J., Naghavi, M., & Ezzati, M. (2016). Improving the usefulness of US mortality data: new methods for reclassification of the underlying cause of death. Population health metrics, 14(1), 14.

Ritchie, V., O’Rourke, T., & Stahlke, S. (2018). Nurse Practitioners’ Experiences of Moral Distress in the Continuing Care Setting. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 14(10), 745-752.

Ruiz, L., Posey, B. M., Neuilly, M. A., Stohr, M. K., & Hemmens, C. (2018). Certifying death in the United States. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 63(4), 1138-1145.

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