Death Registration Information for Funeral Directors and Staff
Importance of Death Registration
Funeral directors and staff are responsible for registering accurate and complete records of death. The death certificate is a permanent legal record of the fact and cause of death. Death certificates are needed by families to settle the affairs of their loved one and to obtain insurance, veterans' and retirement benefits. As a service to the decedent’s family, the funeral director should prepare an accurate death record. This responsibility makes the funeral director the anchor of this country’s death registration system.
National Vital Statistics System
In the United States, the legal authority to register deaths lies within 57 jurisdictions (50 states, 2 cities and 5 territories). Death record information from the 57 jurisdictions is shared with the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is used to compile national mortality statistics which inform a variety of medical and health-related research efforts. Local and state public health agencies use information from the death record to assess community health status and for disease surveillance (e.g., drug overdose deaths, influenza and other infectious diseases).
Minnesota Vital Records Program
In Minnesota, the State Registrar maintains the statewide vital records program and the Minnesota Registration & Certification System (MR&C). MR&C is used to electronically register deaths, fetal death reports and births that occur in the state and issue certified copies of death and birth certificates to eligible requesters.