Jessamine County Coroner

Death Certificates

In most cases when a loved one has passed away, the next of kin is quite anxious to receive the death certificate for any number of reasons, not the least of which is knowing  the cause of death and collecting insurance payment Knowing  these issues are important to the survivors, we attempt to process the paperwork leading up to the issuing of a final death certificate as expeditiously as possible.  Occasionally there are mistakes made which slows the process, as the Office of Vital Statistics in Frankfort demands a flawless primary death certificate, prior to issuing the final certificate.  Such a flaw can be anything from an incorrect or missing digit or letter, to a wrinkle or smudge on the paper.  They also do not accept any corrections on the certificate, meaning that if a minor typographical error is made, a new form must be initiated with the process beginning all over.  We do everything we can to make sure these forms are correct the first time around, but inevitably errors do occasionally occur.  A death certificate is originated by the funeral service provider as chosen by the family.  After completing their section, the certificate is then forwarded to the coroner’s office.  Even though an error can occur at this point, the funeral service providers are generally excellent in entering their information and very rarely does a certificate have to be redone from this stage.  Upon receiving the certificate, the coroner’s section must be filled out. In the event that special testing was required by the coroner’s office, we must wait for those results to arrive as they must be entered onto the certificate. When toxicology is ordered, the samples are sent to an out of state lab for analysis. The labs cannot run every individual sample individually, since this would be prohibitively expensive, so the procedure is to wait until they receive enough samples from multiple sources and run what is called a “batch”.  As a result, it generally takes 4 to 6 weeks and sometimes longer to receive the results. If an autopsy is performed, it is usually done the next day, but generally includes a toxicology exam as well.  Once all results are received, the completed certificate is returned to the funeral service provider who in turn, forwards it on to Vital Statistics.  If no errors are detected, they will transcribe all the information onto an official death certificate, and send it to the funeral service provider, who will forward it on to the next of kin.  An Electronic Death Registration System is now available and in use by our office and some funeral service providers.  This program decreases the time for turn around as well as the potential for errors, but it is a voluntary program, and not all providers are participating at this time.  Please be assured that your coroner’s office as well as your funeral service provider makes every effort to ensure that you receive the certificate as quickly as possible.

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