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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's probably a bit of an odd question but is there a way to find out if someone has died if the family does not want that information public?

Two of my extended family (a sister-in-law and her sister) have parents that are supposedly in "comfort care" and not expected to live. But these two sisters have been "disowned" from the rest of the family to the point where they can't even get information about whether their parents are even alive anymore except if someone "leaks" it. The two of them are pretty torn up. Both live in states far enough away that it's not an easy drive to get there in an hour or two and even if they could get there, the hospital wouldn't even let them in. Two other sisters have power of attorney and deny even a visit from the two I mentioned first. The hospital won't give any info at all, to pretty much anyone except one of the sisters that has POA. The last word was that both parents were in comfort care and not expected to make it. Who knows how accurate that is, they don't really know.

So I was wondering if there is any kind of "back door" that would allow these two to even know when their parents pass. The family has been vindictive enough that they have said they won't even have a funeral or even an announcement, only take them immediately upon death and cremate them.

(My own personal opinion of these people revolves around the idea that there must be a special place in hell for such evil, and for very stupid reasons that I am somewhat aware of. Childish, only with adulthood and what some might even speculate being demon possession. But that's just my opinion.)

Mainly, I just wondered if there is a legal way for them to find out that their parents have passed when they do. They probably will get no information as to why (they're both hospitalized with covid, from what the little bit of info they have indicates), but it seems like there would be enough records available to the public to at least know whether they're dead or alive. (??)

If it helps, they are in the state of Maryland. And from what I understand, Maryland does not put death records online. I don't even know about whether there will be probate but am pretty sure that could be weeks after a death.

Anybody have any thoughts I could share with them? They're hurting. And it doesn't seem like just knowing if / when their parents pass is asking too much. FWIW, there probably won't be much of an estate till all the bills get paid so it's not really a matter of a lot of money involved. Probably very little.
 

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Storyteller
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Public record.

Death certificates are typically recorded with the state and poss. county.

they would need to do a public records search.
Maryland death records are not available to be accessed online. The Maryland Department of Health Division of Vital Records only provides access to death records via mail orders.

How to find the DC
 

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I used to use the social security death index when doing the one year follow up on patients. There is a lag until them are placed in the database.

Also I think the LDS site may work as well -
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Look for obituary in the newspaper.
I don't think they publish an obituary if the family has requested that there be none. (?)

I know of one other person who died a year or so ago that I never could find anything about, no obit, nothing but a few posts on her FB page that said she was gone. She also had family issues but I was surprised by that one.
 

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Indefatigable
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I used to use the social security death index when doing the one year follow up on patients. There is a lag until them are placed in the database.

Also I think the LDS site may work as well -
Is there a way to access that database without paying/joining a genealogy group?
 
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Storyteller
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Look for obituary in the newspaper.
Most newspapers charge by the column inch for obits.
Most that are seen these days are posted by the funeral home, paid for by the family as a hidden charge. And if the family has requested 'privacy' - they won't.

@Bellyman - you could always pay for a bogus obit and see what shakes out...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was thinking that there was something that HAD to be published somewhere, kind of a notice to people who the deceased may owe money. (?) I sorta remember that for my dad a couple of years ago but didn't pay much attention at the time. I kinda think that happened within a week or so of his passing. I guess that's why I was thinking there might be some kind of "back door" to at least find out that someone died.

It is a shame things have to be like this. As it is, two sisters are grieving not knowing if their parents are dead or alive and being denied even saying goodbye.

It's good God didn't give me power to call fire down from heaven... I'd be very tempted...
 

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Won't be immediate, but if property is not already in the POA family members name, it will be recorded when transferred. There is a similar site in my state, I do not know if this one is as helpful.


As far as knowing immediately, it sounds like the POA holder has blocked that pretty good. Might call around to "comfort care" facilities ask to speak to them. Someone might slip up and let you know they are there. Still not helpful in knowing when they die unless you camp out there.

I find that the messiest and most backhanded confrontations are family related. Even worse if it involves any money. I find it best to steer clear of other people's family fights. One example in mine is that my Aunt had her parent's house dozed because she was mad how the will shook out. I mean my Dad making her give back a huge chunk of money she stole from my grandmother's checking was ridiculous, right? lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I find that the messiest and most backhanded confrontations are family related. Even worse if it involves any money.
Yeah, family is messy. And about 40 years ago, I nearly married into this one. Thank heavens it fell apart before the wedding.

And the dumb thing is, there will likely be nothing left but pittances to pass around once all the bills are paid. Seriously, the mom is/was one of those people who mortgaged everything she could to buy yard sale value trinkets for full price and wasting huge chunks of money to remodel her living spaces to display all her trinkets, even taking the occasional cruise to find new people to share in her shallowness. Neither of the two outcast sisters want anything and have pretty much given up on even being able to hold their parents' hands and say goodbye. That's just wrong.

Anyway, they probably will find out eventually. It would be awfully nice to know when they go, though. At least they'd have a little closure. The "hanging on not knowing" is harder than getting the word. Drains a person emotionally.

Myself, I'd be inclined to give the mental "middle finger salute" to the whole situation and just pretend they weren't even related. Even the parents have treated these two sisters badly in the last couple of years. And yet they wanna make peace. Bless their hearts. Not gonna happen but they both still wanna try.

Anyway, probably more than you wanted to know. LOL!

Thanks everyone for the thoughts.
 

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Sites like beenverified.com aggregate data from a lot of different places. Oddly enough I was doing some testing for work, and used my biological father as a test case, and through one of those sites I found out he had died a few years back...

From a probate perspective, there is a legal requirement to find next of kin, isn't there?
 

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"Is there a way to access that database without paying/joining a genealogy group?"

I think you have to pay now. I haven't used it for several years.
 

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If someone has died a funeral home was involved and most of them have websites with notices or short obituaries on them. It is possible that they could honor a request not to list the deceased though.

On the property search front, the easiest thing is to look for a state "cadastral" website. Most have them now. It's an interactive map of the state you can zoom in on and see property lines and who owns what.

Finally, the other option would be for someone to call the local police and ask for a "welfare" check on the family members. Most PD's will follow up on this if the person calling has a legal connection.
 
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