Request or make copies of the death certificate

Manage Accounts

Before starting the account-closing process, get multiple copies of the death certificate.

Getting multiple copies of the death certificate is important because it will be asked for by many different institutions and organizations.

Some institutions may require a certified copy, others may only need a photocopy/scan

If you haven't requested or made copies of the death certificate, take a moment now to assess how many copies you'll need to make to close the deceased's accounts.

A certified copy is a unique and government-verified version.

This might be required for certain submissions, whereas other places might accept an ordinary copied version.

Order at least 5-10 certified copies of the death certificate and make photocopies as need.

How to get a death certificate depends on whether you are working with a funeral home to assist you.

Personal Considerations


Are you working with a funeral home?


They may manage the process for you.

Speak with the Funeral Director, or staff, for more information about how they can help facilitate the request for "certified copies" from the state.

10 "certified copies" and 20 "unofficial photocopies" will be enough for a typical, straightforward Estate.

However, more of each may be needed for larger estates with more complex Assets.

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know Even if you're working with a funeral home, you can order a death certificate yourself. See below for a link to your state agency's website for purchase instructions.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant States will likely only issue certified copies to the Surviving Family and the Executor of the Estate.


Contact the county or state Vital Records Office where the death occurred. You can find your state's contact information in the module below.

Each state operates differently, but the surviving family or executor will typically need to provide the following information to request a certified copy of the death certificate:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Birthdate and birthplace
  • The deceased's father’s name and birthplace
  • The deceased's mother’s name and birthplace
  • Social Security Number
  • Veteran’s discharge or claim number (if applicable)
  • Marital status and name of surviving spouse (if applicable)
  • Date, place, time and cause of death

10 "certified copies" and 20 "unofficial photocopies" will be enough for a typical, straight-forward Estate.

However, more copies of each type may be needed for larger estates with more complex Assets.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant States will likely only issue certified copies to the surviving family and the Executor of the Estate.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information on the executor of the estate, see the "Identify the Executor" section of the Guide.


If you're working with a funeral home:

They may manage the process for you.

Speak with the Funeral Director, or staff, for more information about how they can help facilitate the request for "certified copies" from the state.

10 "certified copies" and 20 "unofficial photocopies" will be enough for a typical, straightforward Estate.

However, more of each may be needed for larger estates with more complex Assets.

Lightbulb_Icon.svgGood to Know Even if you're working with a funeral home, you can order a death certificate yourself. See below for a link to your state agency's website for purchase instructions.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant States will likely only issue certified copies to the Surviving Family and the Executor of the Estate.

If you're not working with a funeral home:

Contact the county or state Vital Records Office where the death occurred. You can find your state's contact information in the module below.

Each state operates differently, but the surviving family or executor will typically need to provide the following information to request a certified copy of the death certificate:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Birthdate and birthplace
  • The deceased's father’s name and birthplace
  • The deceased's mother’s name and birthplace
  • Social Security Number
  • Veteran’s discharge or claim number (if applicable)
  • Marital status and name of surviving spouse (if applicable)
  • Date, place, time and cause of death

10 "certified copies" and 20 "unofficial photocopies" will be enough for a typical, straight-forward Estate.

However, more copies of each type may be needed for larger estates with more complex Assets.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant States will likely only issue certified copies to the surviving family and the Executor of the Estate.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information on the executor of the estate, see the "Identify the Executor" section of the Guide.

Actions to Take


Request a Death Certificate

Find your state agency to purchase a death certificate


Manage Accounts