Five Things to Know When a Family Member Dies

Read this informative article written by Heather Anderson-Fintak and published in the COMMUNIQUÉ (Jan. 2024).

By Heather Anderson-Fintak

In Clark County, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) is the deputy registrar for the state with regards to birth and death certificates.

  1. In order to obtain a death certificate, the requester must be a blood or legal relation within the second degree on consanguinity or to facilitate a legal process, such as probate. NAC 440.070. Other states, such as California, have highly redacted informational only death certificates, usually seen in publications about celebrities’ deaths. This is not available in Nevada; however, a death verification can be provided with limited information on SNHD’s letterhead.
  2. While death certificates can be ordered online through national companies, such as Vital Chek, there is a local Clark County option. https://www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/programs/vital-records/death-certificates/ You can pick up a certificate in-person at SNHD, 280 S. Decatur Blvd. Monday through Thursday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Certificates can also be mailed. Using Vital Chek’s online service sends the request to the State for mail processing exclusively. In person pick up in the Carson City office is available.
  3. Most often the delays in obtaining a death certificate are due to the requirement of a physician submitting the requisite information or signing off on a death; certificates cannot be issued until reporting is complete in the Electronic Death Registry System (EDRS). In Nevada, burial permits can only be sought by funeral homes. The funeral home will take care of procuring the burial permit for a burial in Nevada or work in concert with an out-of-state funeral home for transportation. Funeral homes routinely take care of ordering death certificates, as well as notifying the Social Security Administration.
  4. The Clark County Coroner investigates death in the cases of individuals who have been killed, committed suicide, or suddenly died under suspect circumstances. NRS 259.050. Therefore, a natural death will not cause a body to be transported to the Coroner’s Office. If the Coroner’s Office is conducting an investigation into a death, the issuance of a death certificate is reliant on the completion of the investigation.
  5. Many recommend purchasing between seven and ten death certificates to notify the requisite parties of a loved one’s death. The first death certificate is $38 and all additional certificates in the same order are $25 per certificate. While it is recommended to order one certificate per bank account, retirement account, etc., many companies are accepting scanned and emailed copies.

The SNHD Vital Records staff are compassionate individuals who make the administrative task of obtaining a death certificate a little easier. Should the need arise, the Vital Records Office line is 702-759-1010.

About the author

Heather Anderson-Fintak is General Counsel for the Southern Nevada Health District. She has been with the District since 2012. Prior to the District, she worked for ten years in non-profit legal services in both Maryland and Nevada. She is on the Executive Board of the Clark County Bar Association and was a past Editor-in-Chief of the Communiqué.

About the article

This article was originally published in the Communiqué (Jan. 2024), the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association. See https://clarkcountybar.org/about/member-benefits/communique-2024/communique-jan-2024/.

© 2024 Clark County Bar Association (CCBA). All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher. Editorial policy available upon request.

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