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Death Certificate | Print |

A certificate of death should be filed by the funeral director with the Vital Statistics  Registrar of the Fulton County Health Department, as soon as possible after death. A certificate of death contains personal information about the deceased (name, age, marital status, parents and spouse's names, etc.), time, location, cause and manner of death. The Medical Examiner certifies all deaths over which we assume jurisdiction. Occasionally, completion of the death certificate by the Medical Examiner's Office will be delayed because of various circumstances surrounding the death. If there is uncertainty as to the cause or manner of death following autopsy, investigation by the Medical Examiner's Office continues. The investigators may continue to search for more information regarding the circumstances of death. Laboratory tests may be done on samples taken from the body at time of autopsy. Toxicological tests or drug screens may be done on the body fluids or stomach contents. Tissue samples are examined microscopically. All of this work is done in order to more accurately determine the cause and manner of death and may result in considerable delays in completion of the death certificate - sometimes several months or more. We do not operate a toxicology laboratory on site and are reliant on outside laboratories for such testing, which may take considerable time (weeks to months).

This does not mean that burial will be delayed until the death certificate can be completed. A certificate of death is maintained in the Medical Examiner's Office with certain sections of the certificate placed on hold until the results of follow-up investigations are complete. The pending sections of the certificate are then completed and the certified copy can be obtained from the Vital Statistics Registrar of the Fulton County Health Department. Prior to completion of the pending sections of a death certificate, a letter certifying death (Proof of Death) may be obtained from the Medical Examiner's Office to use in the initiation of benefits such as burial insurance, social security claims, etc. The "Proof of Death" form is furnished by the FCMEC at no charge to families.

We are aware of the importance of the death certificate to families in bringing death-related issues to closure, and we make every effort to complete the death certificate in a timely manner. In most cases, the certificate is completed within one or two days. But, as described above, there are instances in which the procedure may take several months or more. Most such delays occur because information is needed from other agencies over which we have no control.


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Fulton County Medical Examiner

430 Pryor Street SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30312
Phone: 404-613-4400
Fax: 404-613-2463
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