How to Get Copy of Death Certificate California

How to Get a Copy of Death Certificate in California

Losing a loved one is a difficult time, and one important document that you may need to handle the affairs of the deceased is a death certificate. In California, obtaining a copy of a death certificate can be done through the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Vital Records office. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to obtain a copy of a death certificate in California:

Step 1: Determine your eligibility
To request a death certificate, you must be one of the following: the spouse, parent, sibling, child, grandparent, or grandchild of the deceased, a legal representative, or a party entitled to receive the record as determined by a court order.

Step 2: Gather necessary information
You will need to collect some information about the deceased individual to complete the application. This includes their full name, date of death, place of death, and the name of the funeral home or mortuary handling the arrangements.

Step 3: Complete the application
Download the application form for a death certificate from the CDPH Vital Records website or obtain it in person from one of their offices. Fill out the form completely and accurately, providing all the required information.

Step 4: Pay the fee
Include the appropriate fee with your application. The fee for a certified copy of a death certificate in California is currently $21 per copy. Payments can be made through check or money order payable to the California Department of Public Health. Do not send cash.

Step 5: Submit the application
Mail the completed application, along with the fee, to the CDPH Vital Records office. The address can be found on the application form. Alternatively, you can also submit the application in person at one of their offices. It is advisable to make a copy of the application and fee payment for your records before sending it.

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Step 6: Wait for processing
The processing time for obtaining a death certificate in California can vary, but it typically takes around two to three weeks. If you need the certificate urgently, you may request expedited service for an additional fee.


Q: Can I request a death certificate online?
A: No, currently, the CDPH Vital Records office does not offer online ordering for death certificates. You can only request it by mail or in person.

Q: Can anyone request a death certificate in California?
A: No, only individuals who meet the eligibility criteria mentioned earlier can request a death certificate. However, authorized individuals can also make a request on behalf of someone else.

Q: Can I obtain a death certificate from any county in California?
A: Yes, you can obtain a death certificate from any county in California, regardless of where the death occurred.

Q: How many copies of a death certificate should I request?
A: It is recommended to request several copies, as you may need them for various purposes such as settling estate matters, claiming life insurance, or updating legal documents. It’s better to have more copies than to go through the process again later.

Q: Can I request a death certificate for someone who died many years ago?
A: Yes, you can request a death certificate for someone who died many years ago, as long as the death was registered with the state of California.

Remember to keep the original death certificate in a safe place, as it is an important legal document. Obtaining a copy of a death certificate in California may require some time and effort, but it is essential for managing the necessary paperwork after a loved one’s passing.

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