Getting a Death Certificate

How to get a death certificate

Last updated: 10 November 2016

Apart from taking care of your loved one until the day of the funeral, the funeral home will also file for a death certificate. In most states this must be done within 72 hours.

The funeral home may ask you for your loved one’s personal information in order to file the death certificate with the county health department. This includes:

  • Full name
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Social security number
  • Date and place of birth
  • Last address
  • Marital status and spouse’s maiden name
  • Father’s name and mother’s maiden name
  • Highest level of education
  • Occupation
  • Military service

Once the certificate is correctly filed, you will be able to order copies. You will need certified copies of the death certificate in order to manage your loved one’s estate. The exact process for ordering certified copies differs from state to state, but they can usually be ordered via the funeral home or county health department.

Ordering a copy of the death certificate will cost a fee, which can vary widely between states, from approximately $10 to $40. Additional copies are then usually cheaper.

How many death certificate copies should you order?

It is recommended to order around 10 certified copies of the death certificate. If you are the executor of your loved one’s estate, you will need certified copies to do things such as closing bank accounts and claiming insurance.

Most states charge a certain fee for the first copy and then lower fees for subsequent additional copies, so it may be wise to order all the copies you need at once.

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