Death notice vs death certificate

Published: 24/5/2023

When you experience the loss of a loved one, there are important tasks that need to be taken care of. From making funeral arrangements to handling estate matters, when you've lost someone, this can be overwhelming. As you navigate through this challenging time, it's important to understand the difference between a death notice and a death certificate. Let us help explore these two documents to gain more clarity.

The purpose of a death notice

A death notice serves as a public announcement of the passing of a person. Typically, it is placed in the classifieds or obituaries section of a newspaper. The family of the deceased person is responsible for writing the death notice, while the funeral director normally is there to assist in organising it. Unlike funeral notices and obituaries, a death notice contains only limited information.

What to include in a death notice

When writing a death notice, there are a few key details to consider. Alongside the person's name, it's common to include the date of death and birth date. It's important to mention that funeral details are normally not included, this information is kept for the funeral notice.To find out more about what to write in a funeral notice you can read our support article here. It's also very helpful to determine who will be responsible for preparing the notice, establish a budget up front and ensure that the information you provide is accurate.  

RELATED ARTICLE: Lines of sentiment for funeral notices: 60 Examples 

Understanding the significance of a death certificate

A death certificate on the other hand, is the official record of a person's death and serves as proof of death. This document is maintained by the state's registry and contains vital information about the deceased individual.  

The process of obtaining a death certificate  

Typically, the funeral director takes the responsibility of applying for the death certificate on behalf of the executors. This process occurs during the registration of the death. The funeral director will gather personal details about the deceased, including information such as birth, death and burial records, family members, and the individual's home address and occupation.      

Applying for a death certificate independently  

If you prefer to handle the process of obtaining a death certificate yourself, you can do so by contacting the registry of births, deaths, and marriages in your state or territory. Taking this route requires you to provide necessary information about the deceased individual like: 

  • Full name of the deceased
  • Dates and places of birth and death
  • Occupation 
  • Residential address
  • Marital status and relevant details about the spouse or information regarding any previous marriages
  • Names, birthdays of any children
  • Place of burial or cremation

The importance of a death certificate

A death certificate holds significant value in various administrative processes. It is of the utmost importance for transferring or cancelling services, administering a will or applying for Letters of Administration. You will often also need one to place a death notice in the newspaper and online. Having an official record of the person's death really is very essential for legal and financial matters.

Who can apply for a death certificate?

Only a limited number of people are eligible to apply for a death certificate. This includes the Next of Kin, which can be the spouse, parent, or child of the deceased. Additionally, the funeral director and the appointed executor of the person's will are also authorised to apply.

During a time of loss, understanding the difference between a death notice and a death certificate can help you navigate the necessary procedures easier. Remember, a death notice serves as a public announcement, while a death certificate holds official records and acts as proof of death. By familiarising yourself with these documents and their purposes, you can ensure a smoother process as you honour your loved one's memory and handle the necessary arrangements.

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