A celebrant asks:
Just had a call from the local FD asking me if I knew what the family of a celebrant who died on the weekend needs to do re their wedding paperwork and records. No upcoming ceremonies, but several years of archived files, including recent weddings.
I’ve seen it written somewhere, but can’t spot it in the Guidelines. I’m assuming the AG needs notification, but it’s more what has to be done with NOIMS etc.
Can one of you gurus point me in the right direction?
Here’s my quick and dirty rundown of how to deal with the marriage documentation after the death of a celebrant:
1. Completed paperwork should be destroyed securely; the rules changed in 2018 and families no longer need to keep this information. So any completed (or even half-completed) registers etc should be shredded or incinerated. If a celebrant has any really old registers, I would be contacting their local BDM and/or any family history groups to see if they want them for historical purposes. They probably won’t, but it’s worth offering!
2. Blank NOIMs, DONLIMs and OCMs can be given to another celebrant or simply thrown out; if they have no identifying information on them they can just go in the recycling bin.
3. Blank Form 15s should be transferred to another celebrant if at all possible, mostly so that they don’t go to waste! Otherwise they must be securely destroyed; they cannot be given to someone who is not an authorised celebrant. (I have not suggested noting the details of the certificate numbers, the celebrant they were transferred to or the destruction date, because that information would be kept on a Record of Use form. Record of Use forms would be kept by a resigning celebrant for six years, but under the Marriage Regulations 2017, this requirement does not apply to a dead or permanently incapacitated celebrant.)
4. AGD needs to be notified of the death or resignation of a celebrant by following the instructions on this webpage: https://www.ag.gov.au/
5. If there were any ceremonies booked and potentially live NOIMs, these marriages (and their NOIMs) would need to be transferred to another authorised marriage celebrant. In this case that wasn’t an issue.