Questions to the office of state registrar Geraldine Harris related to vital statistics partners.
Check back for new questions every two weeks.
Q: What procedure should a funeral director follow if two people claiming to be the spouse of the deceased ask to be listed as the spouse on the death certificate?
A: Sometimes, two parties may provide conflicting information regarding the deceased. For example, the informant may state that the deceased is married (either common-law or by ceremony), but the family says otherwise (or vice versa). Also, there may be a conflict as to who will be listed as the surviving spouse. In these cases, the funeral director can ask for documentation or list the information provided by the informant because he or she is the funeral home customer. The funeral director has a statutory obligation to file the certificate on time. If necessary, conflicting parties can resolve their argument through the court system.