Only those authorized by law or court order may pursue a claim on behalf of another individual. In order to process a claim filed by someone other than the victim, the Special Master must first validate the individual’s authority to represent the victim for the VCF claim. Different types of documentation are required depending on the representative’s relationship to the victim. This document provides information on the types of representatives who may file a claim, and the required documents that must be submitted for the VCF to validate the individual as an authorized representative.
Personal Representative for a Deceased Victim
- Victim’s Death Certificate: An original or certified copy is required. If possible, please submit the “long form” version of the death certificate, which lists the cause of death.
- Letters of Administration, Letters Testamentary, or other Court Order showing the appointment as the Personal Representative, Executor of Will, or Administrator of the Estate. A copy is sufficient for the VCF to validate the Personal Representative. An original or certified copy is required before payment can be issued.
- Your court order may include limitations. Some limitations do not interfere with the VCF’s ability to validate the Personal Representative, while other limitations may impact the VCF’s ability to process the claim. See the Instructions for Letters of Administration with Limitations on the VCF website for more detailed information.
- If you submit Letters of Administration, Letters Testamentary, or other Court Order that includes limitations that interfere with the VCF’s ability to process or pay your claim, you will be advised in writing and given time to obtain the appropriate documentation.
- In very limited circumstances where the Personal Representative is unable to obtain Letters of Administration, Letters Testamentary, or other Court Order, the Special Master may appoint a Personal Representative for purposes of the VCF claim. You must first attempt to obtain an appointment from the state probate or surrogate court where the victim lived. Please note that this option is generally available only when legal or geographical obstacles mean that the representative is unable to open an estate to obtain an appointment. For more information, please see the information on Appointment of a Personal Representative on the VCF website.
- Proof of Victim’s Cause of Death: This may be included on the victim’s death certificate. If it is not included on the death certificate, other documents sufficient to show proof of cause of death may include a hospital discharge summary, or the victim’s final medical records. Copies of these documents are sufficient.
- A complete Claim Form Signature Page: This must be signed by the Personal Representative. A copy is sufficient.
- If the Personal Representative has filed an amendment to a personal injury claim that was originally filed by the victim, a complete Claim Form Appendix A is required. A copy is sufficient.
Claims with Co-Personal Representatives: Where the court has appointed co-Personal Representatives as administrators of a decedent’s estate, one Personal Representative must be designated the “Lead Personal Representative” for the VCF claim. Each co-Personal Representative must submit a signed and notarized statement identifying the individual who will serve as the Lead Personal Representative. Section 6.5 of the VCF Policies and Procedures document includes important information regarding the documentation that must be submitted, specific instructions for signing and submitting each of the required authorizations and forms, and an explanation of how any payment will be made on the claim.
Parent or Guardian of a Minor Victim
- Minor Victim’s Birth Certificate: An original or certified copy is required.
- If parents share legal custody of the Minor Victim:
One Claim Form Signature Page signed and initialed by both parents. A copy is sufficient;
- OR -
Two Claim Form Signature Pages, one signed and initialed by each parent. Copies are sufficient.
- If one parent has sole legal custody of the Minor Victim:
Court Order or Custody Agreement granting the parent sole legal custody. An original or certified copy is required.
- AND -
A complete Claim Form Signature Page signed and initialed by the parent who has sole legal custody. A copy is sufficient.
Guardian of a Non-Minor Victim
- Court Order Appointing Guardianship: An original or certified copy is required.
- Please note that the VCF does not generally accept Powers of Attorney to fulfill this requirement.
- A complete Claim Form Signature Page signed and initialed by the person granted guardianship. A copy is sufficient.