1 Soo Teal Vital Statistics Unit Region 2 & 3 Representative
2 STATUTE BOOK Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Texas Health and Safety Code (HSC) Texas Family Code (FC) Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP)
3 WHAT IS A VITAL RECORD? A death certificate is considered a Prima Facie Evidence of the Fact or a permanent legal record of fact of death Without a death certificate, final care or disposition of the decedent cannot happen
4 WHO FILES THE DEATH CERTIFICATE? The person in charge of interment or in charge of removal of a body from a registration district shall [HSC ]: 1. obtain and file the death certificate or fetal death certificate; 2. enter on the certificate the information relating to disposition of the body; 3. sign the certificate; and 4. file the certificate electronically as specified by the state registrar.
6 HOW MANY DAYS DOES THE DEATH CERTIFICATE HAVE TO BE FILED? A Death Certificate shall be filed with the local registrar of the registration district in which the death occurs, or where the body is found if the place of death is not known, no later that the 10 th day after the date of death. [HSC ]
7 WHAT HAPPENS IF A DEATH CERTIFICATE DOES NOT GET FILED. A death that occurred more than 10 days but less than one year before the date of an application for registration of death may be recorded on a death certificate and submitted for filing with the local registrar of the registration district in which the death occurred. To file a record of a death that occurred in this state but was not registered within one year of the date of death, a person shall submit a record of the death to the county probate court in the county in which the death occurred. Records submitted under this section must be on the form furnished by Vital Statistics.
8 W H O I S S U P P O S E T O G E T T H E I N F O R M AT I O N F O R T H E D E AT H C E RTIFICAT E? The person required to file a death certificate shall obtain the required personal information from a competent person with knowledge of the facts. [HSC ]
9 WHEN DOES THE REPORT OF DEATH NEED TO BE FILED? A Report of Death should be filed with the local registrar within 24 hours of taking custody of the body [TAC (a)]
10 WHO PROVIDES THE PERSONAL INFORMATION(DEMOGRAPHIC )? [HSC ] Unless a decedent has left directions in writing for the disposition of the decedent's remains the following persons, in the priority listed, have the right to control the disposition, including cremation, of the decedent's remains, shall inter the remains, and are liable for the reasonable cost of interment: 1. the person designated in a written instrument signed by the decedent; 2. the decedent's surviving spouse; 3. any one of the decedent's surviving adult children; 4. either one of the decedent's surviving parents; 5. any one of the decedent's surviving adult siblings; or 6. any adult person in the next degree of kinship in the order named by law to inherit the estate of the decedent.
11 WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MEDICAL CERTIFIER? Completing the Medical Certification on the Certificate of Death (Medical Tabs 1-3). [HSC (a)] Completing the Medical Certification no later than five (5) days after receiving the Certificate of Death. [HSC (b) and HSC (e)(1)] Submit the information and attest to its validity using an electronic process approved by the state registrar [HSC (h)]
12 W H E N I S T H E C E RT I F I C A T E O F D E A T H C O M P L E T E D B Y T H E AT T E N D I N G P H Y S I C I A N? Attending physician is the person responsible for care & treatment of the disease process that contributed to the death. Attending physician can certify only natural causes. He or she does not necessarily pronounce death or have to be present at time of death. Typically, this is the family doctor who knows the long-term medical history of the decedent.
13 C A N A D O C T O R C O M P L E T E T H E M E D I C A L C E R T I F I C A T I O N D U E T O A N A C C I D E N T? Deaths where the manner of death was due to an Accident are consider Unnatural Deaths. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure an inquest shall be conducted if a person dies an unnatural death from a cause other than legal execution. [C.C.P. Art (a)(2)] The JP or ME who conducts an inquest shall sign the death certificate [C.C.P and C.C.P. Art Sec. 11] W H A T H A P P E N S I F T H E D O C T O R C A N T C O M P L E T E T H E M E D I C A L C E R T I F I C A T E? The Code of Criminal Procedure States: If physician who attends the death of a person and who is unable to certify the cause of death shall report the death to the justice of the peace or justice of the peace occurred and request that the justice conduct an inquest. [CCP 49.04(b) and CCP Sec 6 (8)] If a person dies in a hospital or other institution and an attending physician is unable to certify the cause of death, the superintendent or general manager of the hospital or institution shall report the death to the justice of the peace or medical examiner where the hospital or institution is located. CCP 49.04(c) and CCP Sec 6 (8)]
14 W H A T O T H E R D E A T H S R E Q U I R E A N I N Q U E S T T O B E C O N D U C T E D B Y J U S T I C E O F T H E P E A C E O R W I T H T H E M E D I C A L E X A M I N E R? According to C.C.P and C.C.P Sec. 6]: The Person dies in prison under circumstance other than those described by GC (b). [Death was from natural causes while attended by a physician or a registered nurse or legally executed. ] The person dies an unnatural death from cause other than a legal execution. The body of body part of a person is found and cause or circumstance of death are unknown The circumstances of the death indicate that the death may have been caused by unlawful means The person commits suicide or the circumstance of the death indicate that the death may have been caused by suicide The person is a child younger than six years of age and an inquest is required by Chapter of the Texas Family Code [A person who knows of a the death of a child younger than six years of age shall immediately report the death to the JP or ME]
15 W H AT I F T H E J U S T I C E O F T H E P E AC E I S N O T AVA I L A B L E? If the justice of the peace who serves the precinct in which the body or body part was found is not available to conduct an inquest, a person required to give notice under this article shall notify the nearest available justice of the peace serving the county in which the body or body part was found, and that justice of the peace shall conduct the inquest. [CCP Art 49.07(C)(1)]
16 WHEN SHOULD THE INQU EST TAKE P L ACE? According to C.C.P A justice of the peace shall conduct an inquest immediately or as soon as practicable after the justice receives notification of the death.
17 T H E R E I S N O T A J U S T I C E O F T H E P E AC E AVA I L A B L E? W H AT N OW? If no justice of the peace serving the county in which the body or body part was found is available to conduct an inquest, a person required to give notice under this article shall notify the county judge, and the county judge shall initiate the inquest. The county judge may exercise any power and perform any duty otherwise granted to or imposed under this subchapter on the justice of the peace serving the county in which the body or body part was found, except that not later than the fifth day after the day on which the inquest is initiated, the county judge shall transfer all information obtained by the judge to the justice of the peace in whose precinct the body or body part was found for final disposition of the matter. [C.C.P.Art 49.07(c)(2)] Does that mean the County Judge can medically certify the death certificate? YES The justice of the peace or other person who conducts an inquest under this subchapter shall sign the death certificate and all orders made as a necessary part of the inquest. [CCP Art 49.16]
18 C A N A N YO N E G E T A CERT I F I E D C O P Y O F A D E AT H C E RT I F I C AT E? The fact of death (name, date, place) of an individual is public knowledge; however, the death certificate is not. [HSC ; 25 TAC 181.1; ] A death certificate is opened to the public on and after the 25 th anniversary of the date of death. [GC ].
19 WHO IS CONSIDERED A PROPERLY QUALIFIED APPLICANT? The registrant, or immediate family member either by blood, marriage or adoption, his or her guardian, or his or her legal agent or representative. Local, state and federal law enforcement or governmental agencies and other persons may be designated as properly qualified applicants by demonstrating a direct and tangible interest in the record when the information in the record is necessary to implement a statutory provision or to protect a personal legal property right. [Title 25 TAC (22)]
20 WHO IS AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBER? The registrant, his or her guardian, or the children, spouses, parents, siblings, or grandparents of the registrant. [Title 25 TAC 181.1(14)]
21 L E G A L REPRESENTAT I V E (PERSONAL R E P R E S E N TAT I V E OF AG E N T ) An attorney in fact, A funeral director, Or any other person designated by affidavit, contract, or court order acting on behalf and for the benefit of the registrant or his or her immediate family. In order to determine the need for protection for personal property rights when the legal representative is acting on behalf and for the benefit of the registrant or the registrant's immediate family or other entity having a direct and tangible interest in the record, The state registrar, local registrar, or county clerk shall require a designation document or an attested statement to that effect.
22 TYPES OF ID S: GROUP A ONE TYPE OF ID IS NEEDED FROM GROUP A PRIMARY ACCEPTABLE ID : Note: The document must contain the applicants name and signature and or an identifiable photo of the applicant U.S. issued driver s license (must be valid and current) U.S. state issued ID (must be valid and current) U.S. military ID (must be valid and current) Permanent Resident Card or green card (must be valid and current) Offenders ID card issued by Dept. of Criminal Justice Current valid U S Passport Current valid Visa Border crossing card (must be valid and current) Concealed Handgun License (must be valid and current) Pilots license (must show requestors name and not be expired) Employment Authorization Document (must be valid and current) If no ID from the list can be provided, the registrant may request their siblings, parents, children, or their spouse to submit their current Valid ID with a completed signed and dated application by the ID holder. Or, the requestor may request a verification letter or a refund.
23 TYPES OF ID S: GROUP B TWO TYPES OF ID ARE NEEDED FROM GROUP B SECONDARY ACCEPTABLE ID Note: one document must contain the applicants name and signature and or an identifiable photo of the applicant Signed Social Security card ( must show requestors signature on the card) U.S. Current student identification card (must be valid, show expiration year and requestors name) U.S. State expired driver s License or State ID card OR any expired primary ID Medicare card (must show requestors name) Veteran Affairs card (must show requestors name) U.S. Medical insurance card (must show requestors name) DD-214 Mexican Voter Registration card (must submit a copy of the front and back of the card) Foreign passport (must be current and valid) (we DO NOT accept the Mexico Matricula Consular ID) Foreign Identification with identifiable photo of applicant (must be current and valid) If no ID from the list can be provided, the registrant may request their siblings, parents, children, or their spouse to submit their current Valid ID with a completed signed and dated application by the ID holder. Or, the requestor may request a verification letter or a refund.
24 TYPES OF ID S: GROUP C ONE TYPE FROM GROUP B PLUS TWO TYPES FROM GROUP C SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS Note: one document must contain the applicants name and signature and or an identifiable photo of the applicant U.S. A recent utility bill (must be current, show the same address and name of the requestor) U.S. Current Pay Stub (must show requestors name, company name and current address) U.S. bank account statement (must be a current statement showing requestors name and address) U.S. Public assistance Letter (must be current and show requestors name and address) U.S. Police Report of stolen identification (must show requestors name, address and date filed) U.S Official School Transcript (must be certified by official seal) U.S. voters registration card (must be current and show your current address and name of requestor) Automobile insurance card (must show requestors name and be current and valid) Automobile title (must show requestors name) Social security letter (must be current and show same address as on the application) If no ID from the list can be provided, the registrant may request their siblings, parents, children, or their spouse to submit their current Valid ID with a completed signed and dated application by the ID holder. Or, the requestor may request a verification letter or a refund.
25 WHEN IS A BURIAL TRANSIT PERMIT REQUIRED? If a dead body or fetus is to be removed from this state, transported by common carrier within this state, or cremated, the funeral director, or person acting as such, shall obtain a burial-transit permit from the local registrar where the death certificate is or will be filed, or from the state registrar electronically through a Bureau of Vital Statistics electronic death registration system. The registrar shall not issue a burial-transit permit until a certificate of death, completed in so far as possible, has been presented [Title 25 TAC 181.2(b)] A burial-transit permit issued under the law and rules of a place outside of this state in which a death or fetal death occurred authorizes the transportation of the body in this state. A cemetery or crematory shall accept the permit as authorization for burial, cremation, or other disposal of the body in this state. [HSC ] When any body is to be transported by common carrier, the burial-transit permit shall be enclosed in a strong envelope and attached to the shipping case. No separate transit permit shall be required. [Title 25 TAC 181.3(a)(4)] Each local registrar must appoint a deputy registrar so that a registrar is available at all times for the registration of vital records. [HSC (c)]
26 TRANSPORTING A BODY TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY (MEXICO) To ship a body from Texas to Mexico: Burial-Transmit Permit A certified copy of the Death Certificate Apostille from the Texas Secretary of State s Office The Burial-Transmit Permit must be obtained from the local registration office of the district in which the death occurred. Contact the Texas Secretary of State s office for more information regarding Apostille: Secretary of State Statutory Document Section P.O. Box Austin, Texas 78701
27 CREMATION: A person may not cremate or direct the cremation of a body subject to inquest unless the body is identified and the person has received from the justice of the peace or medical examiner a certificate signed by the justice or medical examiner stating that an autopsy was performed on the body or no autopsy was necessary. [CCP Art (b)] A crematory establishment may not cremate human remains within 48 hours of the time of death indicated on a death certificate unless the waiting period is waived in writing by a justice of the peace or medical examiner of the county in which the death occurred or a court order. [HSC Sec (a)] Unless a crematory establishment is also licensed as a funeral establishment, the crematory establishment may not accept any deceased human remains for cremation until the cremation is authorized in writing by a justice of the peace or medical examiner of the county in which the death occurred. [HSC Sec (b)]
28 I S A C R E M A T I O N AU T H O R I Z A T I O N R E Q U I R E D T O G E T A B U R I A L T R A N S I T P E R M I T? No, There is no requirement that the cremation authorization be presented to the local registrar to issue a BTP. The registrar shall not issue a burial-transit permit until a certificate of death, completed in so far as possible, has been presented. [Title 25 TAC 181.2(a)] The cremation authorization form was created for Crematories as documentation of the cremation. The purpose behind local registrars not issuing a BTP for cremation unless viewing a cremation authorization from the JP or ME is to insure that medical certification on the death certificate will be completed. The responsibility of the local registrar is to insure that a death that was reported in your registration district is registered. If the local wishes to issue a BTP for cremation without having a authorization for cremation, VSU suggests that the medical certification on the death certificate be completed when it is presented for the BTP.
29 WHEN IS A DISINTERMENT PERMIT REQUIRED? Remains may not be removed from a cemetery except on written order [A Disinterment Permit] of the state registrar or the state registrar's designee. [Title 25 TAC 181.6(a)] Remains interred in a cemetery may be removed from a plot in the cemetery with the written consent of the cemetery organization operating the cemetery and the written consent of the current plot owner or owners and the next of Kin [ ] A disinterment permit shall not be required if a body is to be disinterred and reinterred in the same cemetery or removing cremated remains. Cremation is considered to be a final disposition of remains. [Title 25 TAC 181.6(d) (e) (f)]
30 WHAT ARE THE FOUR PARTS OF A DISINTERMENT PERMIT? The Funeral Director keeps a copy A copy is filed by the sexton of the cemetery where reinterment is to be made A Copy is filed by the local registrar with the local registrar s copy of the Certificate of Death. A copy is filed by the State Registrar with the original Certificate of Death.
31 W H AT S I G N AT U R E S ARE REQU I R E D TO GET A THE DISINTERMENT PERMIT? The licensed funeral director or embalmer requesting a disinterment permit shall be responsible for obtaining a written consent order from the county judge to disinter a body from a grave when the cemetery, plot owner, and the following persons, in the priority listed: 1. the decedent's surviving spouse; 2. the decedent's surviving adult children; 3. the decedent's surviving parents; 4. the decedent's adult siblings; or 5. the adult person in the next degree of kinship in the order named by law to inherit the estate of the decedent [Title 25 TAC 181.6(l), HSC ]
32 FREE COPIES FOR VETERANS HSC : (b) The state registrar shall issue without fee a certified copy of a record not otherwise prohibited by law to a veteran or to the veteran's widow, orphan, or other dependent if the copy is for use in settling a claim against the government. This does not mean they automatically get a free copy just because they are Veterans. A TVC-14 form, completed by a representative or agent from the Texas Veterans Commission or by a Veterans County Service Officer, should be presented to the state or local registrar. The TVC-14 will be completed by the TVC authorized agent and contain information on where this document should be mailed to.
33 CERTIFICATE OF DEATH BY CATASTROPHE [HSC ] In this section, "catastrophe" means the occurrence of a substantial force that causes widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property and from which it is not reasonable to assume that a person could survive. [HSC (a)] This would include [HSC (a) (1-4)] : flood, earthquake, tornado, or other natural disaster; explosion, fire, or destruction of a building; the crash of a motor vehicle, train, or airplane involving more than one person; or the overtaking of more than one person by fire, water, earth, or other substance.
34 CERTIFICATE OF DEATH BY CATASTROPHE [HSC ] [HSC (b)]a local registrar shall issue and file a certificate of death by catastrophe for a person if: An affidavit is submitted to the registrar stating that: (A) the person was last reasonably believed to be at the scene of a catastrophe; (B) at least 10 days have passed since the day of the catastrophe; (C) A diligent search has been made by a governmental authority and the authority has concluded the search for the person; (D) the catastrophe was not intentionally caused by the person
35 CERTIFICATE OF DEATH BY CATASTROPHE [HSC ] An affidavit is submitted to the registrar stating that (cont): the affiant: (i) does not know whether the person is alive or dead; (ii) has not received any information about the person's status since the catastrophe and, barring the person's death, would have received information about the person's status (iii) is not aware of any custody or guardianship issues involving the person, if the person is a minor or a person for whom a guardian has been appointed; and (iv) is not aware of any reasonable motive for the person to disappear or for another person to abduct the person;
36 CERTIFICATE OF DEATH BY CATASTROPHE [HSC ] The Local Registrar will also need: a written statement signed by an agent of the governmental authority that conducts a search under Subdivision (1)(C) is submitted to the registrar stating that the governmental authority conducted and concluded a search for the person.
37 APPLICATION TO AMEND CERTIFICATE OF DEATH A record of a birth, death, or fetal death accepted by a local registrar for registration may not be changed except as by amendment [HSC (a)] An amending certificate may be filed to complete or correct a record that is incomplete or proved by satisfactory evidence to be inaccurate. The amendment must be in a form prescribed by the department. The amendment shall be attached to and become a part of the legal record of the birth, death, or fetal death if the amendment is accepted for filing [HSC (b)] correct items on the Death Certificate. add items that were left off. Demographic amendments have to be submitted to the VSU on the VS-172 form
38 APPLICATION TO AMEND CERTIFICATE OF DEATH Changing marital status or name of parents requires the original informant on the death certificate to sign before a notary public. Only the funeral director can correct items regarding burial or funeral home information. To correct the date of death which is considered medical information and should be corrected with the Amendment to Medical Certification. Items regarding cause of death can only be corrected with an Amendment to Medical Certification signed by the attending physician, medical examiner or justice of the peace.
39 FETAL DEATH VS. LIVE BIRTH TAC (11) TAC (18) Death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy; the death is indicated by the fact that after such separation, the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles. The complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, which, after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached; each product of such a birth is considered live born.
40 WHEN IS IT REQUIRED TO FILE A FETAL DEATH CERTIFICATE. A certificate of fetal death shall be filed for any fetus weighing 350 grams or more, or if the weight is unknown, a fetus aged 20 weeks or more as calculated from the start date of the last normal menstrual period to the date of delivery. [Title 25 TAC 181.7(a)] The person who is required to file a fetal death certificate shall advise the parent or parents of a stillborn child that a parent may, but is not required to, request the preparation of a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth from State Vital Statistics. [HSC (b)(1)(2)] A fetal death certificate must be filed within 5 days after the date of fetal death. [Title 25 TAC 181.7(b) (2)]
41 Which Certificate Do I File? Did the Baby Have a Pulse, a Breath? NO, then was the fetus 350 grams or more? YES, then file a Birth Certificate & a Death Certificate NO, Fetal Death Certificate not needed but can be filed with 2 signed approvals YES, then file a Fetal Death Certificate only (VS-113.
42 WHAT IS THE CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH RESULTING IN STILLBIRTH? "Certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth" means a birth certificate issued to record the birth of a stillborn child. [HSC (a)(2)] A parent may obtain a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth by contacting the bureau of vital statistics to request the certificate and paying the required fee [HSC (b)(2)] The Person in Charge of Filing the Fetal Death certificate must inform the parent(s) regarding the way or ways in which to contact the bureau of vital statistics to request the certificate. [HSC (b)(3)]
43 TER HELP DESK extension 3490 TER Online Training Vital Statistics Unit Sign up for the listserv to get more information and updates:
44 Vital Statistics Game Show YOU DIG? DEATH BY PAPER BAG OF BONES
45 YOU DIG? Skeletal remains are found in a park. An investigation identifies the remains as a person who disappeared 5 years ago. Who files the death certificate? An man falls and breaks his arm in 5 places. He is rushed to the emergency room but before x-rays can be made, he dies. Both the ER doctor and a bone specialist are unaware of what the cause of death was. What would be the proper procedure to request an inquest and who would make this call? Sally was selling her seashells at her stand by the seashore when suddenly she was struck by a shady street walker striding by her stand. So who should this death be reported to?
46 DEATH BY PAPER A baby is born early, but after complete extraction from the mother, the fetus is not breathing and shows no other signs of life. The fetus is born at 19 weeks gestational age and weighed 292 grams. What certificate should be filed? A family is involved in a car accident in Dallas County. EMS takes the family to a hospital in Dallas. The father is in intensive care for 9 months but passed away due to the injuries sustained. Who is responsible for completing the cause and manner of death? Johnny Applesauce died in Austin, Texas but lives in Hawaii. Angel Funeral Homes in Honolulu will be taking care of the funeral. The funeral home contacted Austin Mortuary Services to transport the body back to Hawaii for Burial. Who is responsible for filing the death certificate with the local registrar?
47 Bag of bones Jimmy John died last week in a hula hoop accident. Uncle Bubba, who is his uncle, twice removed by marriage on his sister s brother s side needs the death certificate just cus he wants to have it. Is he allowed to get Jimmy John s death certificate? A person is being treated by his physician for Cancer and dies in Hospice. There were not any instructions left for disposition or who is in control of disposition. The person had a surviving spouse so his wife has the right to dispose and has decided on cremation as final disposition. What documents need to be filed before this happens? A family wants to take their great-great-great grandfather s cremated remains back to India for a special ceremony. The family has asked a funeral home to remove the remains from the cemetery so the family can take possession of the remains themselves. What documentation will the funeral director need?
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