Helpful Articles

Helpful Articles

Oct 21

What’s the Difference Between a Death Certificate and a Cause of Death Certificate?

Posted by Integrity Funerals

There are a lot of things that you need to deal with after a loved one passes. In addition to the weight of grief that you are feeling and choosing from different funeral homes on the Gold Coast, you also have to gather documentation that you need following the passing of a loved one. A topic that often confuses people is the difference between a death certificate and a cause of death certificate. Reading on, you can learn the difference between these documents and other information you may need.

Death Certificate

A death certificate is the actual proof of death that is required for the executor or administrator to be able to manage any legal and/or financial matters during the estate administration or probate process. Whenever someone passes away in Australia, it’s required that the death be registered with the Office of Birth, Deaths, and Marriages. But it’s important to know that the death is not able to be registered with this office until after the burial or cremation service has taken place.

Cause of Death Certificate

Also known as the Medical Certificate Cause of Death, the cause of death certificate is a document required by a funeral director before they accept a deceased person into their care. This is also a document that you need to register the death and go through the process of applying for a death certificate. Generally, the funeral director will contact the doctor to verify a person’s cause of death and they will process the certificate. For the most part, the next of kin doesn’t need to be involved in this process.

Getting a Death Certificate

The funeral director is responsible for providing the family and/or the next of kin any of the forms that need to be filled out. In some places, this process is automated and can be completed online, without the need for a scanner or printer. For those people who still prefer paper copies, this can be mailed out. After the forms have been completed, the funeral director will register the death with the Office of Births, Deaths, and Marriages on behalf of the family. They will then apply for the death certificate. Depending on the funeral service, this can be mailed to you through the office or through the funeral director.

It can take between 2 and 4 weeks for the death certificate to arrive. This can take even longer if there are any delays by the state authority. For instance, if there’s a coroner involved it can take longer to process the death certificate. You should know that the cause of death certificate cannot be used in place of a death certificate.


Integrity Funerals strives to provide grieving families with all of the information that they need to properly plan for a funeral and other essential things that need to be done after a loved one passes away. This information can be vital to you as you navigate this often complicated and overwhelming process. By having all of the information you could need, you are able to better navigate this process and allow you the time that you need to grieve.