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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 116754
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I was married in Syracuse, NY in 1988. I now live in California.

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I was married in Syracuse, NY in 1988. I now live in California. I recently found out that my husband died in an accident in 1995 in Syracuse, NY. We were never legally divorced. I have been living with a man for about 21 years and have a 17 year old son with him. I never received a death certificate indicating his cause of death. The Cemetery were my husband is buried confirmed his death but stated that by law they could not tell me the cause of death. I am disabled and cannot afford the fee that is required to get a certified copy of my husbands death certificate. Shouldn't. I be entitiled to a free copy? Any advice? What are my rights.
I am afraid that NY does not provide waivers of the fee for a death certificate and as such you would have to pay for a copy. There is no law in NY stating anyone is entitled to a free copy of the death certificate.

As you were married to him, you actually could have made a claim to his estate as the surviving spouse and heir to his estate if he died leaving any assets. However, this would have actually required you hiring a probate attorney in NY to represent you years ago in his estate and if his estate has been probated already that would be too late now (you could check this through the clerk of the surrogate court in the city/county where he resided at the time of his death). If no probate has occurred and he has any assets, you could file as surviving spouse to be heir of all of his estate.

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