Amending a Death Certificate might be a daunting task.
Amidst the emotion and grief of a loved one’s passing it may be easy to overlook the importance of what seems like a minor error on their death certificate.
Pursuant to the provisions of Fla. Stat. § 382.016 (2), amendments to correct a misspelling or an omission on a death certificate can be made by the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Department of Health. However, a substantial error, such as the incorrect marital status or incorrect name of the surviving spouse, requires a court order allowing the change.
The petitions that are required by court must be accompanied by substantiating documentation that would allow the court to order the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Department of Health to make the change.
Probate is already an extensive and lengthy process. In order to submit a petition to initiate probate administration courts require either a copy or original copy of the death certificate. If the death certificate, for example, lists the deceased as unmarried, the following are some ramifications:
- the survivor benefits that the surviving spouse would be entitled to may not be allocated appropriately
- Homestead designation may be lost
- and, if a home was owned with the “right of survivorship” designation, the right may be contested (Fla. Stat. § 732.401(1)).
Surviving spouses are also entitled to the following:
- an intestate share or a pretermitted spousal share of their spouse’s estate (Fla. Stat. § 732.102; Fla. Stat. § 732.301)
- an elective share (Fla. Stat. § 732.201)
- exempt property (Fla. Stat. § 732.402)
- and family allowance entitlements (Fla. Stat. § 732.403), which can all be negatively impacted or delayed given an error on the deceased’s death certificate.
Payable on death assets, such as life insurance policies may also refuse to pay out the coverage amount if the policy covers a spouse that is deceased but whose death certificate incorrectly indicates they were unmarried at the time of death.
There is no need to burden yourself with the added stress of having this corrected on your own. Let us help you. Our Attorneys will handle this matter for you so there is a limited delay in receiving any entitlements.