How to Get a Death Certificate in Florida

How to Get a Death Certificate in Florida

After a person dies in Florida, that death must be registered with the local or state vital records office within five days, and before the body is cremated or buried. In most cases, the funeral home, cremation service or mortuary will handle the process of preparing and filing the death certificate. However, there may be some circumstances in which you need to obtain a copy of a death certificate of a loved one.

Keep in mind that unless the death occurred more than 50 years ago, only certain people are allowed to order death certificates that show the cause of death, those being the deceased’s spouse, parents, adult children, adult grandchildren, adult siblings, legal representative or any person with a will or court order demonstrating an interest in the estate of the deceased.

Obtaining a death certificate

There are a variety of reasons why it may become necessary for a person to seek a death certificate. A personal representative, for example, may need copies of the death certificate to assist in wrapping up the deceased’s affairs. Copies of death certificates are generally required to claim any property or benefits that belonged to the diseased, such as life insurance proceeds, payable on death accounts, U.S. veterans benefits and Social Security benefits.

To get a death certificate, you could simply ask the organization that files the certificate to order certified copies for you at the time of death. Get at least 10, and perhaps more, depending on the complexity of the estate.

After some time passes, you’ll need to visit the Florida Department of Health to order death certificates online or to download a mail-in order form you can use to obtain the certificates.

Finally, there are some circumstances in which the cause of death may need to be included on the death certificate. To have this done, you’ll need to provide a copy of a valid photo ID when ordering the certificates.

Initial copies of death certificates are $5, and additional copies are $4 each.

For more information about obtaining death certificates, contact an experienced Tampa estate administration attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.