Can you sue someone for putting false information on a death certificate?

Asked 9 months ago - San Diego, CA

Deceased was still legally married when he died. He and wife had been separated but no legal action was taken to get a divorce. When he passed his son stated for the death certificate that he was divorced even though he knew that to be false. The death certificate was issued in California in 2013. Wife is trying to get the death certificate amended but has to get a court order establishing the marital status at time of death since son will not sign the affidavit to amend a record.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Christine James


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You can but probably not successfully. I would however have a request in your petition to get the court order include attorney fees against the son for making wife go through the process. Fraud is hard to prove and aside from aggravation (which you cannot be compensated in court for), your damages are minimal, especially if you get your court order.

  2. Robert Miller

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . Do not waste your time or money. Death certificates are evidence of death and nothing else. Nobody can or should rely on a death certificate for any information other than death contained in a death certificate for exactly the reason you state, the informant is frequently uninformed or biased. If the marital status of the decedent is important in some other forum, there are other ways to establish that.
    Disclaimer: California attorney Robert Miller has practiced for over 45 years and restricts his practice to real estate and probate matters in the Central District of Los Angeles. Any opinion expressed is for general informational purposes only, no attorney-client relationship is intended or created by this answer, and no action or inaction should be contemplated without first employing and consulting with a competent attorney convenient to the questioner.

  3. Tatiana Kadetskaya

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Suing for fraud may not be feasible in this case. The best thing to do is to ask the court to reimburse her for legal and court costs.

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