how to get a death certificate in delaware

How to Get a Death Certificate in Delaware: Everything You Need to Know

Everything you need to know about accessing death records in Delaware. All the information you need to submit your request, plus who can access a Delaware death certificate, the cost, and how to get started.

What are Death Certificates (and Why is it Important to Get a Delaware Death Certificate)?

Delaware death certificates are legal documents, issued by the Delaware Health and Social Services department, that record the date, location, and cause of a person’s death that occurred within Delaware.

In Delaware, death certificates are completed by the funeral director, as well as the attending physician, a registered nurse or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

Delaware law requires all deaths that occur within the state be registered via a death certificate within 3 days of the death.

Even though families and estate representatives typically require multiple copies of a loved one’s death certificate to manage their estate, you won’t automatically receive copies, and need to ask.

Most often, you can request death certificates from the funeral director. It’s prudent to request up to 10 copies when someone passes in order to close accounts and wrap up their estate.

If you need additional death certificates, or didn’t receive copies from the funeral director, you can request them via the vital records office.

Vital Records Offices in Delaware

Delaware’s Health and Social Services Office of Vital Records is in charge of vital records in Delaware.

Delaware has been filing death certificates for those who passed away in Delaware since 1913.

The Vital Records office issues certified copies of Delaware death certificates, as well as birth, marriage, and divorce certificates.

You can only get a vital record in Delaware for an event that occurred in Delaware.

In other words, you can only get a Delaware death certificate for a person who died in Delaware. If they were a Delaware resident, but passed away out-of-state, you won’t be able to get a death certificate from Delaware.

How to Get a Death Certificate in Delaware?

Delaware death certificates can be ordered by mail, by phone, in person, or online using approved third-party providers.

How to Get a Delaware Death Certificate by Mail

To order a death certificate by mail in Delaware, print and fill out the application form, and mail it (along with the fee or payment information) to:

Office of Vital Statistics
Division of Public Health
417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901

The application form is available from the Delaware Health and Social Services Division of Public Health.

The pro of ordering a Delaware death certificate by mail is that it’s convenient, doesn’t require an in-person visit to the Office of Vital Statistics located in Dover, and is cheaper than ordering online.

The cost is $25 for one copy. Payment for mail-in applications can be made by check or money order, made payable to Delaware’s “Office of Vital Statistics”.

The con is that it may take longer to receive the death certificates you’ve ordered, due to mailing time.

How to Get a Delaware Death Certificate by Phone

To order a death certificate by phone in Delaware, you can use the state’s approved 3rd party provider, VitalChek.

The phone number to call is 877-888-0248.

How to Get a Delaware Death Certificate In Person

To order a death certificate in person in Delaware, you can go to any of the 3 offices of Vital Statistics, located in Newark, Dover, or Georgetown. The addresses are as follows:

Chopin Building
258 Chapman Road
Newark, DE 19702
Phone: 302-283-7130
Fax: 302-283-7131

Jesse S. Cooper Bldg.
417 Federal St.
Dover, DE 19901
Phone: 302-744-4549
Fax: 302-736-1862

Thurman Adams State Service Ctr.
546 S. Bedford St.
Georgetown, DE 19947
Phone: 02-515-3190
Fax: 302-515-3191

All locations are open for customer service Monday to Fridays from 8:00am to 4:00pm, except on holidays..

For in person visits, the Offices of Vital Statistics in Dover, Newark and Georgetown can issue a certified copy of the death certificate within 2 to 3 weeks.

Before going in person, it’s helpful to fill out the application form, and ensure you have all the required documentation and ID.

Payment can be made by personal check or money order made out to the “Office of Vital Statistics”. The cost for ordering in-person is $25 per copy.

How to Order a Delaware Death Certificate Online

To order a Delaware death certificate online, you need to order them through one of Delaware’s approved third party partners: VitalCheck Network Inc. or GoCertificates.

While death certificates ordered directly through the Delaware Health and Social Services cost $25 per copy, death certificates ordered online cost cost more:

  • GoCertificates. Pricing is unavailable on the website.
  • VitalChek. Costs up to $37.95, plus the cost of shipping to deliver the certificate(s).

Processing time for online orders through VitalChek is up to 14 business days. plus shipping costs.

Information Required to Obtain a Death Certificate in Delaware

To get a copy of an existing death certificate, you need to:

  • Provide enough relevant information about the deceased to ensure the state is able to locate relevant death records.
  • Demonstrate you have a right to access access the death certificate.
  • Meet Delaware ID requirements for applicants.

Information Required to Request a Death Certificate in Delaware

To order death records in Delaware, you need to provide information about the deceased to help the Vital Records office find the death record you need.

In Delaware, the following information is required:

  • First, middle, and last name of the deceased
  • Sex
  • Date of death
  • Place of death
  • Name of mother at birth
  • Name of father at birth

The application form will also ask you personal and contact information, plus your relationship to the deceased.

Qualifications: Who Can Order a Death Certificate in Delaware

In addition to providing information about the deceased, you’ll need to demonstrate you have a right to access the death certificate.

According to Delaware law, death certificates have “restricted access” for 40 years after someone has died. Only certain people can access restricted Delaware death records, and documentation is required. These people include:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent or legal guardian
  • Authorized agent, such as attorney or legal representative
  • Geaneologist
  • Some other immediate family members (must specify)

When requesting a Delaware death certificate, you’ll need to provide your name and relationship to the deceased individual, and may be required to provide documentation that proves your relationship to the deceased, such as a birth certificate (if you are their child) or marriage certificate (if you are their spouse). Parents need to prove they are the parent if requesting the death certificate of a child.

You’ll also need to provide an address to which the death certificate should be mailed, and your contact information.

Finally, you need to sign the request.

What ID is Needed to Get Death Certificates in Delaware?

Individuals applying for a Delaware death record need to submit their request along with the appropriate personal identification.

Along with the application, you need to include a copy of an official piece of photo identification. Drivers license, state ID or work ID are accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting a Delaware Death Certificate

How much does a Delaware death record search cost?

Delaware charges $25 per copy for a death record search. After paying the fee, you’ll get either one certified copy of the death certificate. If they can’t find the death certificate you’re after, you may get a “failure to find” certificate.

For each additional copy of a Delaware death certificate (ordered at the same time), the fee is the same: $25 per copy.

If you choose to order Delaware death records online through VitalChek, it’s more expensive. At the time of writing, VitalChek charges up to $37.95 plus the cost of shipping.

Can anyone obtain a copy of a death certificate in Delaware, or only certain individuals?

Delaware law restricts access to vital records, including death certificates. In Delaware, access to death certificate is restricted for 40 years after a person’s death.

This means only certain people (immediate family or estate representatives) can request a copy.

Typically, parents, spouses, children, siblings, grandchildren, legal representatives of the family or estate, and the informant listed on the death certificate can request copies. In Delaware, access is restricted to:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent or legal guardian
  • Authorized agent, such as attorney or legal representative

Genealogists and other family members may also access death certificates with reason.

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