Get certified copies of the death certificate

One of the first documents an executor will need to obtain as part of his/her executor duties is a copy of the death certificate. While you might think that one copy is sufficient, it really is not.

Take a moment to think about all the people who will need to have a copy. This list might include everyone from the bank to the Social Security office, from the insurance company to the probate court. While not everyone you put on the list will need an original, and many will just make a copy and give you the original back, it is still best to request as many copies as you have people to contact. Some even order a few more than they think they will need just to be safe. There might be instances that come up where you need one and you did not anticipate the need.

Death certificates will likely not be free. They should be paid for out of the estate. You should therefore be smart about how many you order but be sure to get as many as you think you will need. At a minimum, you will likely need five, but you might need as many as ten or more, depending on the complexity of the estate. Given the hassle involved in getting more later, it is often prudent to order at least two more than you think you will need. As executor, you should keep these organized and in a safe place.