Florida Death Certificate Search | Staterecords.org (2024)

The Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics maintains all Florida death records, including certificates. The Bureau receives these death certificates when they are filed electronically on the electronic death registration system (EDRS).

According to the Florida Vital Statistics annual report, about 261,246 people died in 2021 from unintentional injury, cancer, heart disease, and cerebrovascular diseases. The Bureau also recorded about 1,267 infant deaths and 1,572 fetal deaths in the same year. Death certificates of these persons can be accessed by querying the Bureau of Vital Statistics office. Death certificates are handy for the following reasons:

  • Family members used death certificates to close the estate of the deceased and obtain insurance or pension benefits
  • Crematories and cemeteries require death certificates before a cremation or burial service
  • The government uses death certificates to track vital statistics on the population
  • Public health officials use information in all Florida vital records, including death records to track disease trends, set public health policies. Vital statistics also impact the allocation of health and research funding
  • Banks and financial institutions require death certificates before family members can access a deceased's financial accounts and assets
  • Law enforcement officers use death certificates for investigation purposes
  • Death certificates are needed to notify the deceased's creditors or mortgage lenders
  • A death certificate is needed to transfer real estate, vehicles, and other property ownership.

Are Death Certificates Public in Florida?

Yes. According to the Florida Public Records Act, death certificates that exclude the cause of death and the first five digits of the decedent's social security number are open to individuals of legal age (18 or over). However, death certificates that include the cause of death and the decedent's full social security number are confidential for 50 years. Confidential death certificates are restricted to:

  • The decedent's parent or spouse
  • The decedent's sibling, child, or grandchild (if they legal age)
  • Persons who can present a will, insurance policy, or any other documents that demonstrate their interest in the deceased's estate
  • The legal representative of any the above-mentioned persons
  • A person with a court order
  • All persons eligible to access the decedents birth certificate

When the 50 years elapse, "Cause of death" becomes public records. Hence, anyone may obtain a death certificate with this information. However, only the aforementioned persons would be eligible to obtain a certified copy of said record.

What is a Death Certificate?

A death certificate is an official document issued by the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics or the Local County Health Departments that serves as proof of a person's death. It contains vital information like the place, time, cause of death, and personal information about the deceased. Typically, the Bureau of Vital Statistics issues two types of death certificates in Florida:

  1. Death certificate without a cause of death
  2. Death certificate with cause of death

A death certificate without a cause of death is a public record, while a death certificate with the cause of death is confidential. Death certificate with cause of death becomes public record 50 years after the death occurred.

Can I View Death Certificates Online for Free in Florida?

No, the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics does not have a statewide online tool where requesters can view death certificates for free. The Bureau partners with a third-party provider to offer a paid online service. Notwithstanding, inquirers may contact the Health Department in the county where the death occurred to inquire about viewing death certificates online for free.

How to Conduct a Free Death Certificate Search in Florida

The Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics does not have a provision for a free death certificate search. Hence, individuals would have to pay to access death certificates or obtain a copy of a death record. On the other hand, selected jurisdictions may allow inquirers view public death information for free if the option exists. To inquire, contact the official death record custodian in the county where the death occurred, and request for any free death certificate search options they might have.

Where to Get a Death Certificate in Florida

A record seeker can get a Florida death certificate from the following offices:

How to Get a Death Certificate in Florida

Individuals can get death certificates online, by mail, or in person. Death certificates can only be given to eligible individuals like people of legal age, the decedent's spouse, parent, child, grandchild, and sibling. Individuals acting on behalf of the deceased's family members, with court orders or documents that show their interest in the deceased's estate, are also eligible. However, ineligible applicants can submit a notarized Affidavit to Release Cause of Death Information (D.H. Form 1959) signed by an eligible applicant. This form should be submitted alongside any supporting documentation and a valid photo I.D. of the person authorizing the release and the applicant.

Online Death Certificate Requests

Individuals can apply for Florida death certificates online via a contracted vendor. Online applications require sharing personal information. Online order costs:

  • $15 for the first certificate
  • $4 for additional certificates
  • $7 processing fees
  • $2 search fee per calendar year if the exact date of death is unknown

Requesters may opt to use UPS shipping for additional fees, and regular mail may be selected as a shipping method for free. Payments for online orders can be made with credit cards and will be delivered to people's doorsteps.

Mail Death Certificate Requests

The Bureau of Vital Statistics and the local county health departments offer mail-in services. Applicants must submit an Application for Florida Death or Fetal Death Certificate in English or Spanish to apply at the Bureau. Mail orders attract a $5 search fee per copy, $4 for additional fees, and $10 for rush fees. Mail applications can be sent to:

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 210
Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042

Individuals experiencing challenges downloading the application form can submit a request in writing. They must provide the following information alongside a valid I.D. (for those requesting cause of death), payment, and any supporting documentation:

  • Information about the record holder (full name, sex, date of death, date of birth, City or County of death, and Social Security number)
  • Information about the applicant (full name, relationship to the decedent, mailing address, phone number, and signature)

Funeral directors or attorneys must provide:

  • The name of the person they represent.
  • Their relationship to the decedent.
  • Their professional license numbers.

If the date of death is unknown, the applicant must specify a range of years to be searched and provide an additional fee of $2 per calendar year. Mail order payments can be made by check or money order payable to "Vital Statistics". cash is unacceptable. Individuals making International payments can mail Cashier's Checks or Money Orders in U.S. Dollars drawn from U.S. Banks. A $15 fee will be charged for dishonored checks, and only the fees paid for additional copies will be refunded upon written request if no record is found. Individuals ordering cause of death can submit valid photo identification like a driver's license, passport, state identification card, and military identification card.

In-Person Death Certificate Requests

The Bureau of Vital Statistics and local county health departments also offer walk-in services. In-person requests can be made at the Bureau during business hours (Monday to Friday; 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.). The office is located at:

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics
1217 N Pearl Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

In-person applicants can pay for death certificates by cash, money order, check, Visa, and Mastercard. Florida's county health departments only offer death certificates from 2009 to date. Fees for death certificates at County Health Departments vary.

What Information is on a Florida Death Certificate?

The information typically listed on a Florida death certificate includes:

  • File number
  • Registered number
  • Place of death (county, precinct, town/city)
  • The deceased's full name
  • Residence (number, street, ward, length of residence)
  • Sex
  • Color or race
  • Marital status
  • The deceased spouse's name (if married)
  • Date of birth
  • Age
  • Deceased's occupation
  • Birthplace
  • The deceased father's name and birthplace
  • The deceased mother's maiden name and birthplace
  • Informat address
  • Date of death
  • Cause of death
  • Place of burial, cremation, or removal
  • Date of burial or removal

How Long Does It Take to Get a Death Certificate in Florida?

3 to 5 business days. However, while the processing time for death certificates from 2009 to date is days or less, certificates before 2009 take longer to process. On the other hand, in-person applicants may be able to get their death certificates on the same day.

How Many Death Certificates Do I Need in Florida?

10 or more. However, it is best practice to gather information about a deceased's financial accounts before requesting death certificates. This will determine the number of death certificates to request from the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. If the deceased person has simple estates, only one bank account, and only one retirement account, then getting about 8 or 9 copies of death certificates will be needed to close those accounts. If the deceased has many accounts, count all the accounts that need death certificates and add at least two copies for emergencies. Generally, the following individuals or agencies would require a death certificate after a person's demise:

  • Solicitors,
  • Credit companies and mortgage lenders,
  • Share registrars
  • Pension companies
  • Investment holders
  • Insurance companies
  • Funeral directors,
  • Law enforcement agents
  • Banks and other financial institutions
Florida Death Certificate Search | Staterecords.org (2024)

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