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If you have a confidential marriage, and the beloved spouse

dies. I was told that...
If you have a confidential marriage, and the beloved spouse dies. I was told that to get a step up to the deceased spouses social security benefits, the death certificate has to indicate that you were married, even though you have a marriage license and can prove that you were married. Is that true? One of the purposes of a confidential marriage for some, is so others (like family members) can't find out. It seems like there should be an option on the death certicate that would say undisclosed)
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Is there anything else the Retirement Accountant should be aware of?
Customer: The law for disclosing your marriage status should remain confidential, if you get a confidential marriage. It doesn't seem fair, that you have to disclose if you are single, married, or widowed to get social security benefits. Is there any work around for this deliema?
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Answered in 4 hours by:
9/16/2017
Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13,572
Experience: 22+ years legal exp. - 12+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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Hi, my name is***** .I have been practicing SS LAW full time for 12+ years, exclusively, and look forward to assisting you.

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A marriage license is not what is needed. The ML is only a permit by the authorities to get married to XX person and it expires. The person either went ahead and got married or didn't. If they didn't and it expired, the person would have to apply for a new license to get married. What you need is the marriage certificate which is issued by the authority that married you and filed with the town you got married in. If you lost it, you can get it through the town, who keeps copies. The vital statistic office of the state will also have record of the marriage, as the town files it with the state.

No, the proof of marriage is NOT needed on the death certificate as it does not provide proof at all. See the attached US form of death certificate. While there is a spot to put any marriage info, it is not proof at all. In fact, there is no details, including no date of marriage or to whom. There is also a spot for "unknown" since when many people die and they are estranged from family or spouse or ex-spouse, the person who is to fill this out (like medical examiner/coronoer) has to do it quickly has no idea if the person is married, much less to whom, when, etc.

So, to be clear, "confidential" or not, it need not be on the DC. And if you never got a copy of the marriage license, here is how to do it:

"To acquire a certified copy of your California Confidential Marriage License you’ll need to submit the following to the County Clerk’s Office in the County that issued your wedding license:

  1. An Application for Marriage Record (a copy of this “Pink Sheet” will be provide along with your marriage license);
  2. A personal check payable to Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in an amount equal $15 (as of 2015) for each marriage license copy you’ve ordered, and
  3. A cover letter in the form provided in the below link. (The letter is addressed to the Los Angeles County Clerk Registrar’s Office)."

https://www.officiantguy.com/getting-copy-marriage-certificate/

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I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurateservice – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me with 5 stars when you are done. It costs nothing extra but tells company to give mecredit for my assistance to you today. I look forward to assisting you inthe future, should you have legalquestions. Be sure to start future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Stephanie: You didn't answer my question, or I didn't present the information correctly. The question is:
Does a married couple who has a confidential marriage, have to report their correct marital status as "married" on a death certificate? In my case my spouse passed away recently. I was obtaining death certificates through the company offering cremation services. I live in California. I posed this question to the funeral director, who said that I did have to report that we were married. If I did not answer correctly that I would be lying on a government document, and it may affect my benefits. So the funeral director scared me into answering that we were married. My spouse and I wanted to keep the marriage confidential, and that we were married from our relatives, because we thought they would not approve. 2. Second question, can I show your answer to the funeral director?

HI again,

Here was your question: " I was told that to get a step up to the deceased spouses social security benefits, the death certificate has to indicate that you were married, even though you have a marriage license and can prove that you were married. Is that true?" Answer was NO,that is not true. The death certificate does NOT dictate if someone is married. Half the time the funeral director or ME has no idea if a dead person is married at the time they have to draft the DC, particularly if there is no spouse hanging about.

Now, I am answer with regard to SOCIAL SECURITY - marriage certificate is proof of marriage, a DC is NOT what they use for proof of marriage to get survivor widow benefits. If you are wondering what the rules are for ordering a DC from your state, that would be your state's laws, and I can not opine on that. This is strictly SS federal law.

But I am wondering - is the DC already created? If not, and if you simply kept away for a month, I believe the legal authority that drafts DCs will still have to create the legal DC for the state. Are you simply askling for a COPY of the DC so you can bring IT to the SSA along with your proof of spousal relationship and date of marriage, so you can apply for survivor benefit?

Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13,572
Experience: 22+ years legal exp. - 12+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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