Death certificates and permits for disposition of human remains are usually prepared by a funeral director and signed by a physician. The law is very strict about who may request and receive authorized, certified copies of death certificates. Its intent is to protect an individual's privacy and keep their personal information safe from identity theft. Only those listed in the application are authorized to obtain certified copies of birth/death certificates:
- The registrant or a parent or legal guardian of the registrant
- A party entitled to receive the certificate as a result of a court order, or an attorney or a licensed adoption agency seeking the death certificate in order to comply with the requirement of Section 3140 or 7603 of the Family Code
- A member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business (companies representing a government agency must provide authorization from the government agency)
- A child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner of the registrant
- An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant's estate, or any person or agency empowered by statute, or appointed by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant's estate
- Any agent or employee of a funeral establishment who acts within the course and scope of his or her employment and who orders certified copies of a death certificate on behalf of any authorized individual specified above or in Health and Safety Code Section 7100
Informational Only Copy
Those who do not meet the criteria for an authorized certified copy may receive an informational only copy. The words "informational, not a valid document to establish identity" will be imprinted across the face of the certified copy.
Requires cash or check only.
Notice: Effective January 1, 2022, there will be fee increases pursuant to Assembly Bill (AB) 128:
- Death Certificate (general public and government agency)
- Previous Rate: $21
- Effective January 1, 2022: $24
- Burial Permit/Re-file
- Unchanged Rate: $12
- Fetal Death Certificate
- Previous Rate: $18
- Effective January 1, 2022: $21
Violent, Sudden or Medically Unattended Death
The Medical Examiner-Coroner (MEC) is responsible to investigate all violent, sudden or medically unattended deaths within the county. If autopsy/ toxicology reports are not immediately available, a death certificate may be prepared with the causes listed as "Pending or Under Investigation". Once the cause-of-death is known, the MEC submits an amendment for registration. Contact the MEC office for more information or timelines at 707-262-4215.