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My mother in law passed away at home in her sleep without a known cause. Police came and filed a report, someone took her body away (coroner or medical examiner). But they were so busy maybe cause of covid that they didn’t create a death certificate. Now three weeks later we don’t have a death certificate and are having a hard time getting one. She was 89 years old and didn’t have a regular doctor and her heart specialists says they don’t issue one if they hadn’t seen her lately. Her body is stored away and can’t be cremated until we have a certificate. What can we do?

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What country are you in? It’s only been 3 weeks. If you are in the US & are expecting a death certificate this soon, you will need to be patient because the death certificate isn’t issued instantly when someone dies at home under these circumstances. Since the coroner is involved, the death certificate won’t be issued until they have determined the cause of death which can take months if they are waiting on toxicology results. Have you contacted the coroners officer for an update?
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Wuuhuu Jan 14, 2021
I spoke to my husband and he said she is at the funeral home waiting to be cremated but they need a death certificate first. We are in Alaska.
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I believe the coroner's office would have to generate the death certificate since no doctor would sign off on it. That's where you need to go to get it.

This sounds ghastly, but I hope they haven't forgotten her because they're overrun with Covid cases. My mother is on hospice care, and I've instructed the nurse to write Mom's full name and my phone number on her arm with a Sharpie to prevent her body from being misplaced or misidentified. I can't find a mortuary here in Southern California that will agree to take her body when she dies, so if she ends up in a medical examiner's office, or worse, in a refrigerated truck, I want her to be identifiable.

I can't believe the world has come to this.
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JoAnn29 Jan 13, 2021
Under hospice your Mom will go directly to the Funeral Home u have designated.
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We are in Maryland and my father passed on Saturday - his doctor called me Monday and told me she signed his death certificate. The crematorium told me yesterday that it will take 6-8 weeks to receive copies of the death certificate (I ordered 10 copies) because COVID has slowed down the process at the DVR (Division of Vital Records). That may be the case in your mother’s death. I know it only took a week to get copies when my mother passed 4 years ago. It affects opening and settling an estate - the bank requires one to open an account for the deceased. COVID has changed everything
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KaleyBug Jan 17, 2021
My mom passed in MD we had 10 copies within days of her death.
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Only the ones who took her body can create a death certificate. Ask for the police report and make a complaint with the police department.
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What do you mean by "her body is stored away?" Is this still a coroner's case? Because if so, until a "cause of death" is ascertained, there will be no death certificate. When the body is ready for transfer to funeral home the next of kin or the POA listed will be contacted for transfer. The Funeral Home is the one who can ask you how many death certificates you want printed. It will then take several weeks to get to you. If you need more you go to your County Recorder's office. But first things first. This may still be a coroner's case with no death certificate, cause of death etc recorded. Otherwise they would not be holding this body. Contact the Coroner's office to which the body was taken.
Meanwhile there is no hurry in anyone asking you for this certificate. If you reply that this is still a coroner's case, and body is not released, no certificates yet, all entities will understand.
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Wuuhuu Jan 13, 2021
I say stored away because I’m not familiar with the proper words. And I‘ll have to ask my brother in law about where her body is. I assumed her body would be with the coroners place until she’s cremated. A death certificate does not exist yet.
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Ditto to what Dolciani posted. Just a suggestion from my own experience as well to make sure you request MORE than one copy of the death certificate. In my state I think they gave us 2 (for free) but I would ask for more right away. There will be a fee for extras, but we learned that certain institutions require an original certificate, not a copy or a scan. I would get at least 6 or 8. One was an oil company in which my LO owned shares. LO died with no will and the company would only accept an original certificate in order to cash out the shares and make check to LO's wife.
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AlvaDeer Jan 14, 2021
I got so many and not a single entity kept the one I presented. They made their own copy. Here I sit with 20. I would say get 6-10 if I were advising someone. Many places ask for an original, like the credit agencies, but then accept a copy. DMV the same.
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First, my condolences on the loss of your MIL. Contact your state or local Department of Health for advice. In Ohio the State DOH issues death and birth certificates.

My mother died 4 weeks ago and we were told that it would take 4-6 weeks to get a death certificate because of the pandemic.

I am in Ohio and we did not have to wait for the cremation because Mom died in hospital. It did take nearly 2 weeks for the cremation and another 2 weeks for burial, everyone is backed up.
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Reply to Frances73
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Start at the police department for their report. Someone took the body away. You may have to follow the trail.
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Wuuhuu Jan 13, 2021
Yes that’s a start.
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Call the Coroner that took her away.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Make an appointment with a funeral home and speak to a funeral director about the cremation and explain your situation. If you plan the arrangements with them at their funeral home, they will take care of getting the death certificate and will also get certified copies of it for you (they usually cost around $20 apiece) so you can use them to take care of such business as closing her bank accounts and shutting down her credit cards.
Please speak to a funeral director. They will help you.
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