How To: Get a copy of a death certificate

Get a copy of a death certificate

Not exactly sure how to get a hold of a death certificate? Whether you need a death certificate to trace your family history or to make a legal claim, follow these steps to get the record you need.

You Will Need:
• Information about the deceased
• Internet or library access (optional)

Step 1: Identify the state where the person died
Identify the state in which the person died, and contact the vital records or vital statistics department for that state.


Step 2: Gather identifying information
Find out the person's full name, sex, and date and place of death.


Step 3: Determine whether you need a certified copy
Determine whether you need a certified copy of the certificate. Most states allow access to uncertified records, but restrict who can get certified copies.


Step 4: Learn about fees and state requirements
Contact the state vital records department to learn about any fees or additional requirements for getting a copy of the death certificate.


Step 5: Send the necessary information
Send the necessary information along with any fees to the state vital records department. Include your full name, address, phone number, and any other information they require.


Step 6: Receive a copy of the death certificate by mail
Receive a copy of the death certificate by mail. Delivery time will vary by state.

Trivia: In 2007, a Chicago man created a fake death certificate and faxed it to his cell phone provider to try to avoid paying a fee for ending his contract.

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