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28 February 2022

Certificates of life: what you need to know

Certificates of life are important if you’re claiming money or a pension abroad. Here’s your guide.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

What is a certificate of life?

A certificate of life is a document that is created by a government, insurance company or pension fund to prove the existence of an individual. They certify that the individual concerned is currently living and that they are able to qualify for things like pensions and benefits. 

Other names for this include Proof of Life Certificate, Certificate of Existence, Letter of Existence or Life Certificate.

What are they used for?

Government bodies check periodically that someone who is claiming benefits or pensions is still alive. This prevents the government from overpaying. They are commonly used when people want to claim pensions outside the UK. For example, British nationals who have retired and now live overseas will likely need a proof of life certificate in order for them to be able to claim benefits.

How do you get a life certificate?

Government bodies check periodically that someone who is claiming benefits or pensions is still alive. This prevents the government from overpaying. They are commonly used when people want to claim pensions outside the UK. For example, British nationals who have retired and now live overseas will likely need a proof of life certificate in order for them to be able to claim benefits.

Do life certificates expire?

Yes, life certificates do expire. The relevant government authority will need periodical confirmation that you are still alive. The regularity with which the certificate needs renewing depends on the country you are living in. Latvia, India, and Germany, for example, all require a certificate of life to be renewed once a year. Other countries have a specific window in which the certificate must be renewed. 

We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the requirements of the country you live in, and contact us for advice if you are not certain or you need assistance. 

READY FOR ASSISTANCE?

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email info@woodcocknotarypublic.com.

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0800 049 2471 or email info@woodcocknotarypublic.com.