Which States Allow Free Death Certificate Lookups?

All 50 states in the United States charge a fee for conducting a vital records search and providing copies of death certificates, although the fees vary by state. Death certificate fee information can be accessed for each state by visiting the vital records information page at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Death certificates for the recently deceased person can often be ordered from local county offices that provide such records. Death certificates are available at the state level several months after a person has passed away. Fees are due when placing the order, and states might also require the certificate requester to provide legal identification. Forms of payment accepted for death certificates include personal check, money order or cashier's check, and some states prefer one type of payment over another, so double check before placing an order.

Certified copies of death certificates are often needed to carry out burial or cremation plans, and to transfer the property of the deceased individual to family members. The death certificate includes vital information such as name, birth date, marital status, cause of death and place and time of death. The original death certificate is prepared by the organization in charge of handling the remains, which is often a funeral home or cremation organization.