Thursday, September 24, 2009

Are Death Certificates a Matter of Public Records?

Death Certificates are a matter of public record. Death certificates are public records to an extent. It is possible for one to obtain a death certificate through various sources. The most common way would be to obtain it by contacting your states vital records department. Their contact information can be found with a quick web search. Most states allow you to order a copy of the death record online and by phone. The records kept are not all inclusive. Most states go back at least one hundred years although some states do go back to death dates even further. When contacting a vital statistic office to obtain a copy of a death record, there are some things you maybe asked. These may include the decedent’s social security number, birth date and death date.

They office will also want to know that you are an immediate or extended family member, hold power of attorney, or are a legal representative. They may ask you what your purpose of obtaining this record is. Other useful information to have on hand is the funeral directors name, the decedent’s parent’s names and the city or county of death. There will be a small fee charged for the administrative duties of finding and copying a death certificate. In some states, you may also have to pay an additional fee.

If you would rather receive the record faster, there are also online services that you can buy a paid subscription to and do your own researching or you may pay a business to do the work for you. This will usually be the quickest alternative but the priciest. No matter how you chose to obtain a death record, remember that the more useful information you have, the easier it will be for anyone to conduct a search for you.

Missing information will lead to longer wait times and possibly more out of pocket expenses. Being prepared with the proper names and dates should be the first part of your endeavor.

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