Obtaining Death Records in Colorado
Death records could either be death certificates, which are issued after a person dies, or death indexes, which are a public record of the people who have died in that particular area. While death certificates are private documents and issued to family, guardians or legal representatives, death indexes are open to the public and can be accessed easily.
In the United States, death records are considered to be vital records. There is a federal law in the U.S., which makes it mandatory for every state to record the deaths that occur within the state. The details provided in the records, however, vary from state to state.
In Colorado, the state has documented the deaths since 1900. To request a death certificate, the family member, guardian or legal authority will have to contact their local county office or order the same via VitalChek. Those looking for death indexes can visit the obituaries, genealogy sites, archives or cemeteries in the county where the death occurred.
Death Certificate in Colorado
Like every other state in the U.S., the death certificates in Colorado are considered to be vital documents are not kept open to the public. The death certificate can be issued only to the following individuals or group:
- Current Spouse (as named on the certificate).
- Ex-Spouse, if they have tangible proof of interest.
- Parents (or Stepparent, if the relationship is mentioned on the certificate).
- Grandparents or Great Grandparents.
- Siblings or Half Siblings.
- Grandchildren or Great Grandchildren.
- Legal representative or authority (insurance company, government agency).
- Employers and creditors.
- Any other family member that can prove a direct and tangible relationship (aunt, uncle, nephew, in-laws, etc.)
It is mandatory for the person issuing the order for the certificate to submit their identification document and prove that they are related to the deceased. In the case of government agencies, they will be required to only show their work ID.
Normally, the death certificate is requested for insurance claims, genealogical purposes, claim assets, death benefits, etc. While submitting the application, the individual will be required to submit a legible photocopy of their valid and unexpired photo ID and a fee of $20 for 1st copy and $13 for each additional copies.
The applicant can order the death certificate by anyone of the following methods:
- Through the Mail: The applicant can write to the Vital Records Section in Denver for issuing the death certificate. They can send their identification proof with the request and draw a personal check or money order payable to Vital Records Section.
- In-person: The applicant can visit the Vital Records Section to request the certificate. They will need to call beforehand for the timing and will have to carry a photocopy of their ID and the requisite fee, along with them.
- Through VitalChek: VitalChek is the only third-party that is authorized to handle the orders for vital records in the U.S. The applicant can request the death certificate online, on the VitalChek website or through a call. The applicant will have to submit their ID proof and pay the requisite fee while making the application.
Once the application is made, it will be processed by the government agency. The certificate will be shipped to the applicant directly from the government agency through a secured shipping service.
Death records are not made public in colorado until after 75 years of the event. If an individual, who is not eligible to request a death certificate, wants to view the death records in Colorado, they will have to check the death indexes. For this, they can one of the following:
- Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
- Colorado Newspaper Obituaries Archives.
- Cemeteries or burial sites in the county where the death occurred.
- Genealogical Society Archives.
- Newspaper Obituaries Archives in the county where the death occurred.
- Hospitals or mortuaries where the death occurred.
Do note that while death indexes provide information on deaths that occurred 75 years ago, they do not issue death certificates. Some of the information provided on the certificate will be restricted from the indexes. Do check the restrictions and other relevant details before visiting the indexes.