Can I Get My Death Certificate Online for Free?

Last updated August 23rd, 2021

A death certificate is an important document that details death information such as the location, date, and cause of a person’s passing. It is usually issued by a registrar from an office of vital records, and it can be used for various legal purposes.

Getting a certified death certificate online for free is not possible at the moment. However, you can apply for a death certificate online through an external death record service, as long as you cover any state and processing fees.

Requests for death records are usually handled by offices of vital statistics and vital records. These types of vital documents contain essential personal identity information that should only be accessible to close family members of the deceased.

Because this data is private and difficult to obtain, it’s not feasible to find a free and printable copy of a death certificate online. If this were possible, people would be at a significantly higher risk of identity theft.

A death certificate can be used for various important purposes, such as claiming life insurance, executing a will, or accessing pension benefits. This means that it’s recommendable to keep this document safe in a secure location such as your home or office.

Who Can Get a Death Certificate Copy?

Only specific individuals are legally allowed to receive an official authorized copy of a death record. This is because the document can be used to obtain various social security and insurance benefits. Death records can also be used to find information about ancestry or genealogy.

Different states have varying regulations on who can obtain a death certificate. However, most states allow some or all of the following people to get an authorized copy:

  • Legal guardian or parents of the deceased
  • Children, spouses, domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren, or siblings of the deceased
  • Attorney’s that represent the deceased or their estate
  • People or agencies permitted by a court to act on behalf of the deceased
  • Members of law enforcement or other governmental agencies who are carrying out official business
  • People that can prove that they have a direct financial interest in the estate of the deceased
  • Funeral directors and other employees/agents of the funeral establishment

As these laws vary from state to state, we recommend checking with your specific state’s vital records office. However, in an increasingly high number of states, certified copies are becoming available only to immediate family members, will executors, and people that have a direct financial interest in the estate.

How To Get a Death Certificate Copy

One of the easiest ways to get a death certificate copy is to order one through the funeral home at the time of the death. If you are ordering a death certificate after the time of death, you should contact your county or state vital records office.

If the death occurred recently (within the last few months), then it will be more likely that your county office will have the certificate on file. When some months have passed since the death, then the state office should have it as well.

You will need to pay a fee for each death certificate copy, with the amount varying from state to state. However, this should be between $10 or $15 for the first copy, and the cost should decrease when ordering multiple copies at once. There are also many online databases which you can use to search for death records, but most of these will not provide certified versions.

The amount of time it will take to get your death certificate will vary on depending on the cause, date, and location of the death. Laws on death certideath certificate turnaround times differ from state-to-state, but it usually takes between 1 and 10 days to receive the document.