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.

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, gender and age, plus these details about their death:

  • date found
  • address found at
  • medical cause
  • manner, and
  • circumstances

To order

Fill out the Authorization for Release of Information form.

Fee: $15 (three copies provided)

Death Certificate

This is the Alberta government’s official certificate of death. It’s based on information from the OCME but is only issued by the Vital Statistics branch. It gives the deceased’s:

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

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

Autopsy Report

When the OCME performs an autopsy on the deceased, they prepare 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 Report, 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 Report

When the OCME determines that an autopsy isn’t necessary, they then perform an external examination of the deceased. Afterwards, they prepare these documents:

  • External Examination Form – describes the external examination, with a summary of findings and the cause of death
  • External Examination Report 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 Report 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 Report with Toxicology Report