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Utah Office of the Medical Examiner

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Death Registration

Responsibility of the Medical Examiner

The principal responsibility of the medical examiner in death registration is to complete the medical portion of the death certificate. Before delivering the death certificate to the funeral director/funeral home, the medical examiner may add medical and personal information required on the death certificate.

Responsibility of the Funeral Director/Funeral Home

The funeral director will complete the parts of the death certificate that call for personal or statistical information. The funeral director is also responsible for filing the death certificate with the County Health Department/Registrar within the county where the death occurred. Utah requires a death certificate to be filed within 72 hours of the time of death or discovery.

Information Required to Complete a Death Certificate

  • Name of Decedent
  • Age
  • Decedent’s Address (Street, City-Town, State/Zip, County)
  • Sex:  Male / Female
  • Race-Ethnicity
  • Citizen USA:  Yes / No
  • Decedent’s Birthplace
  • Decedent’s Date of Birth
  • Father’s Name  /  His Birthplace
  • Mother’s Name  /  Her Birthplace
  • Marital Status
  • Surviving Spouse Name
  • Date & Place of Marriage
  • Employment Status:  Retired (Year??)  /  Presently Employed  /  Not Employed
  • Usual Occupation
  • Kind of Business
  • Employer
  • Employed Number of Years
  • Social Security Number
  • Highest Education
  • Veteran:  Yes / No
  • Branch of Service
  • Rank
  • Service Dates
  • Service Number
  • Honors-Commendations

General Duties of the Funeral Director/Funeral Home

  1. Complete the relevant portions of the death certificate, including the personal, statistical and in some cases the accident information for completion of the registered record.
  2. Deliver the death certificate to the County Health Department/Registrar promptly to insure the record can be filed within the State’s prescribed time period.
  3. Assist the State or local Registrar by answering inquiries regarding the information placed on the record promptly.

When the medical examiner cannot complete and sign the death certificate with 72 hours, the words “pending” can be entered on the death certificate and the certificate shall be signed. A death certificate completed in this manner is valid for the local registrar to issue a disposal-transit permit.  This permit does not relieve the funeral director from obtaining full release from the medical examiner before final disposition of the body. Under no circumstances shall a decedent be cremated or removed from the state until the medical examiner has approved the body for such disposition. 

When the death certificate is filed with the notation “pending”, it becomes the responsibility of the funeral director/funeral home and the decedent’s next-of-kin to resubmit original records or file for new records when the cause of death is released to the State Registrar from the physician or medical examiner. The certificate will then be corrected or amended according to the local regulations regarding this procedure and released to the decedent’s next-of-kin.

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