Not unlike a Birth Certificate, a Death Certificate functions to record the event. Was the day when death was recorded as simply as personal identification. This gave way to personal ID, and an Affidavit by witnesses, or writing the event in the family Bible. However, the Civil War and travel coupled with insurance led to the need for “certified” identification. Commercial demands were the birth of modern day embalming and “certified” death certificates. Today’s modern death certificate functions for the same, purpose, but it also includes use as a tool for genealogy, morbidity statistics, and location of final disposition. From a legal standpoint in Illinois, only a licensed funeral director may execute a death certificate. Once he completes it and presents it for declaration of cause of death by the doctor, coroner, or medical examiner, it is then certified by the County Registrar where the death took place. The funeral director then files the certificate and orders the appropriate number of certified copies (if any) needed by the family. The number of copies needed depends largely upon assets titled directly in the name of the deceased. These can include a car, home, stocks, bond, insurance, etc.

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