More Helpful Information

On this page, you will find helpful information about many issues.  Please browse this page and feel free to contact us with any questions or comments about these or any other concerns.  
Death certificate - This is the permanent legal record of the death.  It contains personal information about the deceased, which your funeral director will ask you, and it also contains information about the death and its cause, which is completed by the deceased’s physician, the physician who pronounced the death (such as in a hospital or nursing home death) or the medical examiner in the case of an unexpected, accidental, or suspicious death. The funeral director will take care of all of this for you and is required to file the original death certificate with the office of vital records or town clerk in the town in which the death occurred.  You will need certified copies of this to show proof of death when settling legal issues such as a will or the possession of assets (e.g. real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc.) and life insurance claims, which are discussed below.  After determining how many copies you will need, your funeral director will also pick them up for you and add the cost to your bill. The current cost is $30 each in Monroe County; in our other member counties, the cost is $10 each. Some financial institutions may make a copy of one of the certified copies to save you from having to order more. 
     They can be obtained at the Office of Vital Records or Town Clerk's office in the town in which the death occurred for the cost mentioned above. They will only be available to those with a specific relationship to the deceased. Your funeral director can give you more details.
--the original death certificate is filed by the funeral director. He/she will need the following information to complete it:
         deceased's name, address, educational level, date of birth, social security number, occupation, employer, parents’ names, race, dates and branch of service if a veteran, name and address of informant
--you can get these up to six months after the date of death or your funeral director can get them for you
--for more information, the Dept. of Vital Records' website for Monroe County is 
--there is another website that allows ordering of death certificates for any county in New York. This site is more extensive and will also provide a birth certificate or marriage license for genealogy purposes. There is a higher fee to order through this site.
Life Insurance - If you are the beneficiary, you must submit a claim to the life insurance company for the death benefit. You will need a certified copy of the death certificate to send with this claim. The claim will not be processed without it. Call the company or your agent to request a claim form.  Some insurance companies may have this form available for download and printing on their website. These forms are usually easy to understand and can be completed in a few minutes.  If there is more than one policy with the same company, they can be listed on the same claim form. If you need help with this, you may call your agent, the insurance company, or your funeral director will be glad to help you. 
If you intend to use the proceeds from the life insurance toward payment of the funeral expenses, your funeral director will help you complete the claim form and he/she may also ask you to sign a form to assign the amount of the funeral expenses to the funeral home.  The balance will be sent to you, the beneficiary. If the amount of the life insurance is enough to cover the funeral expenses, the funeral home may only require that you pay upfront for the amount of the "Cash Advances." This is money that is advanced on your behalf for payment for services outside of the funeral home’s costs.  i.e. clergy or church offering, cemetery or crematory costs, certified copies of the death certificate, flowers, newspaper notices, etc. 
Changing automobile ownership – The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles has a page on their website which offers a lot of helpful information about what to do in registering or selling a car or boat when someone dies. It even has the forms you need to fill out so you can print them out before going to their office. This link will take you to that page.  If you need additional information about where to call or visit, clicking on this link,, will show you phone numbers and addresses of the Department of Motor Vehicle office nearest to you. 
Real Estate Transfers - These transfers are dependent on the provisions of the will.  It is best to consult with your attorney concerning this.
Wills and probate- Consult with a reputable attorney for useful legal information.
Your funeral director is a good resource for information and available services in your community for any of the issues listed above and any other concerns you may have.