The vital records office in the state or area where the death occurred provides certified copies of a death certificate. Individuals must write to or visit the vital records office to obtain a copy.
The person or entity in charge of a deceased person's remains, including the funeral home or cremation organization, prepares and files the death certificate. The vital statistics office in a state, city, county, or other local office then files the record of the death permanently. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides direct access to individual state and territory information as well as guidelines to filing and obtaining a death certificate.