Settling of estates

When the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) investigates a death, neither the family doctor or hospital has the authority to complete any proof of death documents. A medical examiner from the OCME must complete all documents about the cause and manner of a death.

The OCME only releases certificates, reports and forms for a specific death after a medical examiner completes their investigation of that death.

Proof of death documents

Institutions such as banks, insurance companies and legal firms usually require an official proof of death document before the deceased’s claims and other dispositions may be settled.

Certificate of Medical Examiner

This gives the deceased’s name, sex and age, plus these details about their death:

  • date found dead
  • address found at
  • medical cause
  • manner, and
  • brief description of circumstances

To order

Fill out the Authorization for Release of Information form.

Fee: $15 (three copies provided)

Death Certificate

The Alberta government’s official certificate of death is:

  • issued ONLY by the Vital Statistics branch
  • based on information the OCME gives the Vital Statistics branch

The certificate gives the deceased's:

  • name
  • date found dead
  • place of death (city, town, village)
  • marital status
  • sex, and
  • age

To obtain a death certificate, contact your local registry agent.

Autopsy Report

A medical examiner performs either an autopsy or external examination of the deceased.

If a medical examiner performs an autopsy, the OCME prepares these documents:

  • Summary Autopsy Report – describes a summary of the autopsy findings and conclusions
  • Detailed Autopsy Report – describes the complete autopsy findings and conclusions. It includes the Summary Autopsy Report and, if toxicology testing was performed, the Toxicology Report.

Note: The OCME prepares an Autopsy Report or External Examination Form, but not both.

To order

Fill out the Authorization for Release of Information form.

Fees: $15 Summary Autopsy Report; $40 Detailed Autopsy Report

External Examination Form

If a medical examiner decides that an autopsy isn't necessary, they perform an external examination of the deceased. Afterwards, the OCME prepares these documents:

  • External Examination Form – describes the external examination, with a summary of findings and the cause of death
  • External Examination Form with Toxicology Report – available only if a medical examiner orders toxicology testing. It includes a copy of the External Examination Form and the Toxicology Report.

Note: The OCME prepares an External Examination Form or Autopsy Report, but not both.

To order

Fill out the Authorization for Release of Information form.

Fees: $15 External Examination Form; $40 External Examination Form with Toxicology Report