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Birth and Death Certificates

Birth and death certificates are vitally important pieces of information that should be kept at all times. In the event that they are lost or damaged, or that you need an extra certified copy for whatever reason, you will need to contact the Department of Vital Records in your state.

Birth Certificates

A birth certificate is a piece of paper that certifies the birth of a new baby. It is the responsibility of the parent to contact the Department of Vital Statistics in the county where the baby is born to obtain the first copy of said certificate. That copy will have to be obtained from the Department of Vital Statistics in the county where the baby was born.
Birth certificates are required for a number of things, including:

  • Enrolling a child in school
  • Age verification for children’s sports, travel, etc.
  • To obtain a social security card
  • To obtain a driver’s license
  • To obtain a passport.

It is easy to get a replacement copy of a birth certificate for yourself or your child. All you need to do is contact the Department of Vital Statistics in the state where you or the child was born, and enclose two forms of identification. One must be a photo ID, such as a driver’s license or military ID, and the can be something with your name and address on it, like a utility or phone bill.

Death Certificates

Death certificates are used to legally signify the death of a person. By federal law, death certificates and other information concerning a deceased individual can only be released to a relative (parent, child, spouse, etc), a person who is designated in the last will and testament, or a person who has power of attorney where the deceased is concerned.
Death certificate are required for:

  • Transfer of bank accounts and safe deposit boxes.
  • Transfer of IRAs, retirement accounts, stocks, and money market accounts.
  • Transfers of titles or deeds for real estate, houses, cars, etc.
  • Claims for funeral, burial, or life insurance.
  • Federal or state tax refunds.
  • Cancelation of utility accounts
  • Etc

To obtain a death certificate, you will need to provide the full name, sex, date of death, place of death and social security number for the deceased. You will also need to provide information for yourself, including your full name, address and phone number, signature, and your relationship to the deceased.

Things to Remember

  • Do not send original documents. Send copies of any documents, because you will not get the documents that you send to the Department of Vital Statistics back.
  • These are just generalized statements. Each state and county may have slightly different processes, or may charge different amounts of money. To get detailed information, you should contact your state’s Department of Vital Statistics
  • Most states will not accept cash as a form of payment, though almost all will accept check, money order, or credit/debit card.

Search for vital records, death records, find birth records and get death certificates. The Vital Records Office provides eligible applicants with copies of death certificates for deaths in each state.

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