When someone dies, a death certificate records on paper the time and place where the decedent passed away. While the funeral director where you lay your loved one to rest will usually obtain several copies for your records, it may be necessary to obtain a certified copy that has a raised seal and can be used for matters like settling an estate or claiming insurance benefits.
If someone passes away in New York City, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island, you can obtain a copy from the New York City Office of Vital Health either online or through the mail. If the decedent passed away outside of New York City but in the state of New York, you can order a certified copy of the death certificate online or by mail from the New York State Department of Health.
It is important to note that death certificates can take anywhere from three to four weeks to receive once ordered and are comprised of two parts: the standard certificate of death and the confidential medical report detailing the cause of death. To obtain the confidential medical report with the death certificate, you must be a relative of the deceased. That person can be: a spouse, domestic partner,parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, informant listed on the certificate, or person in control of disposition.
To order a death certificate online, you will need one of the following forms of ID:
- Driver’s license or non-driver’s ID from all states and U.S. territories
- IDNYC – Municipal ID
- Public benefit card
- U.S. or foreign passport
- U.S. employment authorization card
- Military ID card
- Employee ID with verifiable employer and recent pay stub
- MTA reduced fare MetroCard
- Student ID and transcript from accredited and verifiable institution
- Inmate photo ID with release papers
These individuals listed above are considered entitled parties and photocopies of the above documents are permitted. If you do not have any of the above documents, you will be required to provide two original copies of the following and have it mailed to the address listed on the document:
- Utility or telephone bills (online bills can be downloaded from your provider)
- Letter from a government agency
If you are not considered an entitled party, you will need to establish your right to obtain a death certificate by providing any of the following original certified documents which must include your name.
- Insurance policy