Champaign County Coroner
Duane E. Northrup
ALL DEATHS OCCURRING IN ILLINOIS ARE CERTIFIED ON ONE OF THE FOLLOWING CERTIFICATES OF DEATH:
Medical Certificate of Death
- Every death resulting from natural causes, while attended by a licensed physician, will be certified on a Medical
Certificate of Death and shall be signed by the physician in charge of the patient’s care or his/her associate. Natural
deaths subject to investigation by the coroner shall be certified by the coroner.
Coroner/Medical Examiner’s Certificate of Death
- Every death subject to investigation by the coroner will be certified on a Coroner/Medical Examiner’s
Certificate of Death once the coroner’s investigation is completed.
Deaths requiring autopsy, toxicology testing, positive identification and/or other investigation by the coroner shall be certified on a Coroner/Medical Examiner’s Certificate of Death with “Pending Investigation” listed as the cause and manner of death. Certified copies of this certificate may be purchased from the County Clerk’s Office or Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and used for administering most legal matters relating to the decedent.
NOTE: Life insurance policies are legal contracts that may require a certified copy of a Coroner/Medical Examiner Certificate of Death which includes the final cause and manner of death on the certificate. These policies are set by insurance companies and the coroner has no authority over whether the insurance company will release insurance funds before or after issuance of the final certificate. In many cases, the final cause and manner determination by the coroner will have no effect on the life insurance. Next of kin are encouraged to contact the decedent’s life insurance company to inquire how or why the coroner’s investigation may affect the life insurance settlement and have the insurance representative contact the coroner with any questions about the investigation.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR OBTAINING A CERTIFIED COPY OF A DEATH CERTIFICATE?
The decedent’s legal representative will seek out the services of a funeral home following the death of a loved one. The legal representative will meet with the funeral director as soon as possible to discuss the details of the final disposition (Burial, Cremation, Donation to Science or a combination of these) and provide biographical information for the death certificate. The funeral director will generate the electronic death certificate which will be automatically sent to the physician or the coroner depending on the circumstances of the death. The physician or coroner will complete the cause and manner of death section and forward the certificate to the Illinois Department of Public Health for assignment of a state file number. Once the health department has assigned a state file number, certified copies of the certificate may be obtained.
Certified copies of death certificates for residents of Champaign County, who have died in Champaign County, may be obtained from the following agencies:
Champaign County Clerk's Office
1776 E. Washington St.
Urbana, IL 61802
- Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
201 W. Kenyon Rd.
Champaign, IL 61820
Note: Certified copies of death certificates for persons who have died in Champaign County but resided in another Illinois county at the time of death can be obtained from the entity or agency in the decedent’s county of residence that issues certified death certificates.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THE CORONER’S INVESTIGATION AND ISSUE THE DEATH CERTIFICATE?
In most cases, the coroner’s investigation into the cause and manner of death is completed and the Permanent Death Certificate is certified within 7 days after the death. In cases where the permanent death certificate cannot be completed and certified within 7 days, the coroner will issue a Temporary Death Certificate for next of kin to carry out funeral, legal, and financial matters.
Deaths requiring extensive investigation by the coroner typically require between 60-90 days to complete and certify the permanent death certificate. In rare circumstances the coroner’s investigation can take longer than 90 days to complete. Circumstances when the final death certificate may take longer than 7 days to complete include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Family/next of kin have not chosen a funeral home to handle final disposition
- Positive identification of the decedent is pending confirmation by the coroner
- The death resulted from trauma or may be the result of trauma or a manner other than natural causes
- An autopsy and/or toxicology testing has been performed
- Additional lab testing has been ordered or performed
- Medical information pertaining to the cause or manner of death received from the patient’s physician or healthcare facility conflicts or contradicts with information originally reported to the coroner at the time of death
- The coroner is waiting on reports/records from other public or private agencies such as police, fire, EMS, insurance companies, banks, pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, etc…
- The death was not originally reported to the coroner when it occurred