Obtaining a Death Certificate

August 15, 2015

When someone dies, you must register the death with the local office within a matter of days. That is crucial because firstly, it allows the Department of Home Affairs to issue a death certificate.

This certificate contains relevant information about the deceased and the circumstances surrounding their death.

The certificate of death helps in the settlement of the estate. And it also offers closure about the cause of death.

Once the Department of Home Affairs accepts the notification of death, they will issue a burial order, without which you cannot bury the body.

Medical Documentation required for Unexpected death

Death CertificateIf the death occurred in a hospital, the doctor would issue a death certificate if it was a natural death. If the death was unnatural, you need to call your doctor to issue a death certificate, but you will also need to contact the police for an unnatural death.

The body then goes to the state mortuary for an autopsy Then it goes into the care of a funeral undertaker.

Different government departments require certification of death for various reasons. The information then goes to an archive where the Department of Home Affairs keeps it secure.

It is always a good idea to have quite a few copies made of the death certificate for your personal records but also for handling the deceased person’s affairs. In the case of an unexpected death, you will need to bring medical documentation regarding the deceased.

With a Funeral Plan, you get Death Certificate Assistance

If you have a funeral plan in place, the funeral home will prepare and file the death certificate. Preparing the death certificate involves getting all the personal information from family members. Then you must obtain the signature of a doctor or coroner. This process shouldn’t take long – three days to a week.

The death certificate has valuable information about the person who has died

Information on the death certificate will include –

  • Full names
  • Address
  • Date of birth and birth place
  • Marital status and the name of the surviving spouse
  • Date, place and time of death
  • Cause of death

All Death related Forms available at Home Affairs offices

The Births and Deaths Registration Act requires that death must be reported. The death certificate and other forms that may be necessary are available from all Home Affairs offices.

In fact, when you register a death with the Department of Home Affairs, you will get an abridged death certificate. If you want a replacement copy or a full death certificate, you can complete forms known as the BI-132. These are obtainable at your local Home Affairs office.

Different people must complete different sections of this form. These are the person reporting the death, the medical doctor as well as a Home Affairs official. Then the bereaved receive a death report (Form BI-1680) after the registration of the death.

Deaths outside the country of South African citizens must be reported to the nearest South African embassy.

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Go here for Home Affairs information about death certificates

All info was correct at time of publishing