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Obtaining Death Certificates in New York

On December 22, 2023, Governor Hochul in New York signed into law a bill that greatly expanded the pool of individuals who were legally authorized to obtain a copy of an individual’s New York State death certificate. The preexisting law essentially limited the scope of individuals who could obtain a death certificate to the decedent’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, or a lawful representative.  Other individuals, even if related by blood, needed to document a lawful right or claim or a medical need to obtain a death certificate – or needed to obtain a court order.  These restrictions often were quite burdensome, especially for close family members excluded from the permitted list who needed a death certificate for estate, benefit, and insurance purposes.

The new law adds the following individuals to the list of parties eligible to request and receive a certified copy of a New York State death certificate:

·               An agent appointed to control the disposition of remains of a decedent under Section 4201 of the Public Health Law

·               A domestic partner

·               Grandparents

·               Aunts

·               Uncles

·               Cousins

·               Nieces

·               Nephews

This change was effective as of December 22, 2023 when it was signed into law. 

Also, accompanying the new law was an approval memorandum from the Governor where she noted that as drafted the bill was too broad and would come with an additional cost of $3 million per year that was not accounted for – and it would also slow down current processing time.  As a result of these issues, the Governor has reached an agreement with the Legislature to enact some forthcoming technical changes.


Our firm has extensive experience counseling individuals, businesses, and others on statutory requirements, as well as preparing and implementing applicable policies. If you have any questions related to this Legal Briefing, please contact any member of our firm at 585-730- 4773.


Obtaining Death Certificates in New York
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This Legal Briefing is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or counsel. The substance of this Legal Briefing is not intended to cover all legal issues or developments regarding the matter. Please consult with an attorney to ascertain how these new developments may relate to you or your business. © 2024 Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow PLLC


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