Even though we would all prefer to deal with happier records and life events, deceased records are part of the life cycle and they testify the death of a person and mention identity details, cause of death, date, and place of burial. Various situations can demand to find deceased records, either you want to learn more about the potential death of someone of your family, or if you, unfortunately, have to obtain a death certificate for funeral arrangements, estate settlements, medical benefits, etc. Read on to know how to find certificates and public deceased records.
What Are Deceased Records?
Death records are part of vital records (included birth records, marriage records, divorce records, and death records). They are government-issued documents that state the cause of death, location of death, time of death, as well as additional personal information about the deceased such as age, marital status, etc. It can be issued by a medical practitioner or a person such as a registrar of vital statistics.
Most states have stored death records away since the early 1900s. A few states such as Massachusetts, even before, as early as the 1600s. Nowadays, all states are entitled by the law to keep records of deaths. Still, according to each state, the information including in the records may vary.
What type of information can you find in deceased records? Although it varies from state to state as mentioned previously, it will usually include the following:
- Full name
- Date of birth and birthplace
- Father’s name and birthplace
- Mother’s name and birthplace
- Complete or partial Social Security number
- Veteran’s discharge or claim number
- Marital status and name of surviving spouse (if applicable)
- Date, place, and time of death
- Cause of death
Deceased records are the only official source of information to declare the deceased state of a person, thus, it has an important purpose and is useful is tons of situations. There are many reasons why you might need to obtain one for legal purposes, such as:
- Claiming Life Insurance – If the deceased person had life insurance, the named beneficiary would need a death certificate to claim for those benefits. You will be asked to get a government-issued copy of the death certificate. Keep in mind that it is a slow process and that it is advised to provide this paper as quickly as possible.
- Pensions – In couple relationships, if someone passes away, the other spouse might be entitled to benefits from his or her pension. In this case, you will have to provide a few documents to the company, and one of the most important is the death certificate of the deceased spouse.
- Settling Estates – Here comes one of the most painful parts, when a beloved leave, one of the necessary steps is to evaluate the estate of the deceased person and to settle his estate rightfully. It's a long process that includes accessing bank accounts, real estate holdings, etc. For all these procedures, you will need multiple copies of the death certificate.
- Future Marriages – Depending on the state, a widow or widower can be asked to provide a copy of the death certificate of the partner who has passed away in order to be able to remarry.
Find Deceased Records
Deceased Records are not kept nationwide but in each and every state. This breakdown by the state means that you'll have to target the right state and county in order to claim vital records, and so, deceased records. The manner to find deceased records may vary from a state to another.
If you want to present yourself physically, you can walk-in to the Center of Health Statistics of the relevant county. The certified copy of a death certificate can be obtained on the spot quite quickly, always with a fee (around $15-20). Before you decide to go to a Center of Health Statistics in person, you may want to check the conditions, as depending on state law, it will not be given to anyone, there might be information such as the cause of death that may not appear as public information.
Also, note that some states deliver copies of death certificate only after a certain year. For instance, in Alabama, the state law states that "Death certificates more than 25 years old may be obtained by anyone upon payment of the proper fee. Death certificates less than 25 years old may be obtained by the following persons, upon payment of the proper fee: mother or father, husband or wife, son or daughter, sister or brother, grandchild, legal representative.
If you want to order by mail, most states indicate the procedure to follow on their site. It usually includes to download and fill a form, including payment of the appropriate fee and send this mail to the Vital Records office of your state.
Find Deceased Records Online
Good news! In most cases, deceased records can be found or ordered online. Most states delegate the task to VitalCheck, hundreds of government agencies nationwide exclusively trust VitalCheck for accepting their death certificates and other vital record orders. It is a quick and easy way to order a death certificate, in less than 10 minutes, according to VitalCheck. VitalCheck is a fast and convenient way to order certified government-issued death records online.
How? Select the relevant state on this page followed by the relevant city, then you must enter the date of death and select a reason: apostille/authentification, genealogy/family history, government assistance/benefits, inheritance/estate settlement, insurance/pension/retirement, legal purposes, personal records/use, social security card/benefits. The following step invites you to choose between two options: to receive the death certificate with a regular mail delivery ($0 shipping fee) or with UPS Delivery ($18.50 shipping fee). In addition to that, count a $20 fee for a first copy and $11 for the VitalCheck processing fee. Complete with your personal information and payment details and voilà!
If by chance, you're interested in the quickest and cheapest way to access billions of records within a minute, you can also choose to use a people search website such as GoLookup. GoLookup is a background check and public records database that allows you to screen into accurate and up-to-date data from official authorities throughout the country. A name or even a phone number is all you need to start your search!