Before the business and legal issues of the estate can be pursued, it will be necessary to obtain certified copies of the death certificate. You can order them from the Funeral Director or directly from the Registrar of Vital Statistics( in North Carolina, it may be either the local health department or Register of Deeds. Your funeral director will know for your particular situation). It is always better to order a few more than what you think you will need. Most agencies will only accept certified death certificates and not photocopies.