Newport News, VA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia

Q: How do I obtain a death certificate…

My fiancée of whom we shared a child together passed away unexpectedly from a stroke. And of course it’s a case of I ntestate succession. Vital statistics customer service told me that since our daughter is a minor and I am not next of kin I can’t obtain a death certificate. Is this true?? His family won’t speak to us or give us a death certificate so I need guidance. Thank you!

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1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Interesting issue. His daughter plainly has standing, and you are surely eligible to be her next friend. But, let's start simpler by approaching this through the need you have. If he has an estate, are his parents filing it? You don't need the death certificate if they get it unless there is some non-probate asset, like life insurance proceeds, that require that. I suggest you retain local probate counsel for a consult, determine the nature of your need, and then request the death certificate through counsel for that need. Vital Statistics is very sensitive to defrauders seeking death certificates of young people for nefarious purposes, but they generally respond to legal counsel with a legitimate need.

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