Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to ascertain the cause of death?

Each case varies. Official autopsy results are not available until all the laboratory testing for toxicology, histology, and other studies have been concluded and this typically can take anywhere from three to four months.

How do I obtain an autopsy report?

An autopsy report can be obtained by submitting a written request to the Medical Examiner's office that is signed by the Next of Kin and notarized.

What is meant by Next of Kin?

Next of Kin refers to the nearest blood and non blood relative of a person who has died. In Nassau County the next of kin, i.e., those who have sole discretion over the control and /or disposition of the body is prioritized as per the following:

New York State Next of Kin Hierarchy

  • Person designated in written instrument
  • Spouse
  • Domestic Partner
  • Any child 18 or older
  • Either Parent
  • Any brother or sister 18 or older
  • Authorized guardian
  • Persons 18 or older eligible to receive an estate distribution in the following order:
    • Grandchildren
    • Great-Grandchildren
    • Nieces & nephews
    • Grand-nieces and Grand-nephews
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts and Uncles
  • First cousins
  • Great grandchildren of grand-parents
  • Second cousins
  • Fiduciary
  • Close friend or other relative under specific conditions
  • Public Administrator

Can a family object to having an autopsy performed?

Yes. However, since there is usually a unique set of circumstances surrounding each decedent, and certain ME autopsies are required by law, the process for requesting objections may vary. The next of kin, or his/her representative, who wishes to object, must speak with the Medical Examiner and complete a Statement of Opposition to Autopsy form, available through this office.

Does the ME Office perform autopsies on non-Medical Examiner cases?

No. Deaths from natural causes certified by hospital or private physician do not fall under the ME jurisdiction.

Can I have a paternity/maternity test done?

See Link to DNA for all questions relating to parentage: Forensic Genetics Page

Does the ME office issue Birth Certificates?

No. However, they can be obtained through the Registrar Office located in the municipality of where the birth occurred. Registrar offices can be found throughout Nassau County. For further information on how to obtain birth certificates click on link below.

Vital Records Page

Does the ME office issue Death Certificates?

Yes, but they are obtainable through the Registrar office in the municipality where the death occurred. See above link for further information on how to obtain death certificates.

Does the Registrar Office require information from those seeking death certificates?

Each Registrar Office varies in terms of their requirements. It is highly suggested to call ahead to make inquiry with the registrar office before proceeding to obtain from them a death or birth certificate.

Why are forensic investigations conducted?

Forensic investigations are conducted for the purpose of collecting evidence that is used to help determine cause and manner of death.

Is the Nassau County Medical Examiner's Office part of Nassau University Medical Center?

No. We are a distinct agency. The hospital's phone number is: 516-572-0123

Is there a charge for an autopsy?


Are there fees for autopsy reports?

  • Immediate Next of Kin can receive one report at no charge after the ME receives a notarized written request.
  • Attorneys and insurance companies will be billed based upon the type of records they are requesting.

Must a domestic partner produce a copy of a Registered Domestic Partner Certificate when required?


Are Autopsy reports obtainable through a Freedom of Information Law Appeal, (FOIL request)?

No. However, such records may be obtainable, pursuant to county law, 677, (3b), by court order.