Certifying an Australian death certificate
A death certificate is the official copy of the information recorded on the government register about a person who has died. In Australia, when someone dies, their death must be registered with the registry in the state where they died. This means that if you must prove that someone has died in Australia, you must obtain their death certificate from the relevant registry and that death certificate will generally be accepted as the primary evidence that the person has passed away.
When would I need to send a death certificate to another country?
We receive many requests for help when people want to send an Australian death certificate to another country. Some of the most comment requests relate to the following situations:
- If there are estate and inheritance issues involving that person, their estate, or their family in another country.
- If there are property transactions or business dealings involving that person in another country.
- If there are legal proceedings or court action involving that person in another country.
- If that person passed away in Australia but their family wants to send their human remains (ie, body or ashes) to another country.
Do I have to send the original death certificate or can I send a certified copy of the death certificate?
You should check with the intended recipient or the intended destination country whether you must send the original death certificate or whether you can send a certified copy. Some intended destination countries may also require the death certificate to be translated from English into their official language.
Does an Australian death certificate need to be stamped with an apostille or legalised?
Before you can send an Australian death certificate to another country (for it to be recognised as valid and accepted in that country), the death certificate generally must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and legalised.
If you are sending the original death certificate, it can be stamped with an apostille from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade if the intended destination country is a member of the Apostille Convention or have DFAT can authenticate it before you arrange for it to be legalised with the foreign representative office of the intended destination country.
If you want to keep the original birth certificate and only send a certified copy, then the certified copy of the death certificate must be notarised by a notary public before it can be stamped with an apostille or authenticated by DFAT.
You must be able to produce the original death certificate regardless of whether you are sending the original death certificate or a notarised copy of an original death certificate to another country.
How do I obtain an Australian death certificate?
You should receive a death certificate from the relevant registry after you register the person’s death, however, you can still apply for additional/replacement certificates – especially if you want to send that death certificate (or a certified copy) to another country.
- For death certificates issued in New South Wales
- For death certificates issued in the Australian Capital Territory
- For death certificates issued in Queensland
- For death certificates issued in Victoria
- For death certificates issued in Western Australia
- For death certificates issued in Tasmania
- For death certificates issued in the Northern Territory
If you’re ordering a replacement death certificate solely for the purpose of sending it to another country, or if you’re not available to collect it (especially if you’re not living in Australia), you can ask for that death certificate to be delivered to our office or mailing address and we can help you with processing whatever it is you need to do on your behalf.
Attesting, certifying and notarising copies of Australian death certificates for use in another country is one of our core notary public services
What documents do we attest and notarise?
Some of the documents that we regularly attest and notarise for clients include:
- Power of attorney or Letter of Authority signed in Australia appointing someone to handle your property, business or personal financial matters on your behalf – as well as the Revocation of Power of Attorney. The power of attorney is probably the most frequently requested document to be signed, attested and notarised by our office.
- Property transfers and dealing documents signed in Australia for transacting property in other countries.
- Legal and court forms and documents signed in Australia for legal matters and court proceedings in other countries.
- Personal and commercial agreements or contracts signed in Australia for use in other countries. If you’re signing on behalf of a company, you may also need ‘company documents’ such as a certificate of good standing.
- Photo and personal identification documents such as passports or Australian drivers licence. Other forms of identification can also be attested and notarised, but generally other countries require photo identification in the absence of a national identity card system in Australia.
- Personal certificates from Australia such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and Australian citizenship certificates. These certificates are generally issued by the relevant registry in each Australian state or by the Australian Government.
- Financial documents like bank statements issued by Australian banks, financial statements or tax-related documents from the Australian Tax Office.
- Court documents issued by Australian courts, such as divorce orders, Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
- Education documents from Australian institutions, such as school reports, college degrees, university testamurs and transcripts. These documents must be verified with the issuing institution before they can be attested and notarised.
- Employment documents from Australian employers, like referral letters, references and recommendations, and payslips. These documents must be verified with the issuing employer before they can be attested and notarised.
- Company documents relating to Australian companies, like certificates of good standing, attested copies of certificates of incorporation, resolution and minutes, constitutions and memorandum of association etc. These documents must be obtained directly from ASIC for public information or produced by the director if they relate to corporate register documents.
- Criminal history documents issued by Australian police agencies like the Australian Federal Police or state police, or by private organisations accredited by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.
Do you have any questions regarding this article?
Whether you’re notarising a document for the first time or the hundreth time, the requirements, processes, and terms can be confusing and daunting – or just a pain and a hassle (especially if you need an apostille, or to authenticate or legalise as well). Don’t worry! We’re here to simplify it, explain it, and help you with what you need to achieve it.
Contact us or visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about our notary public services. We’ve also created a flowchart to help explain notarisation, apostille, authentication and legalisation.
So, what’s next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We’re a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney known for our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries, our low-cost fixed fees and service offering, and our availability to help on short notice. With our offices conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area, we help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.
This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney.
Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to other countries.