how to get a death certificate in alabama

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

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

What are Death Certificates (and Why is it Important to Get an Alabama Death Certificate)?

Alabama death certificates are legal documents, issued by the Alabama Center for Health Statistics, that record the date, location, and cause of a person’s death that occurred within Alabama.

In Alabama, death certificates are completed by medical professionals (physician caring for the deceased at the time of death, and/or the coroner/medical examiner) and the funeral director.

Alabama law requires all deaths that occur within the state be registered via a death certificate within 5 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 Alabama

Alabama’s Center for Health Statistics is in charge of vital records in Alabama.

Alabama has been filing death certificates for those who passed away in Alabama since 1908.

The Alabama Center for Health Statistics issues certified copies of Alabama death certificates, as well as birth, marriage, and divorce certificates.

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

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

How to Get a Death Certificate in Alabama?

Alabama death certificates can be ordered by mail, in person in Alabama, or online.

How to Get an Alabama Death Certificate by Mail

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

Alabama Vital Records
P.O. Box 5625
Montgomery, Alabama 36103-5625

The application form is available in English and in Spanish from Alabama Public Health.

The pro of ordering an Alabama death certificate by mail is that it’s convenient, doesn’t require an in-person visit to the County health department, and is cheaper than ordering online. The cost is $15 for one copy, plus $6 for each additional copy. Payment for mail-in applications can be made by check or money order made out to the “State Board of Health”.

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

How to Get an Alabama Death Certificate In Person

To order a death certificate in person in Alabama, you can go to any county health department within Alabama.

For in person visits, the County health department can issue a certified copy of the death certificate while you wait.

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 check or money order made out to the State Board of Health. The cost for ordering in-person is $15 for one copy, plus $6 for each additional copy.

How to Order an Alabama Death Certificate Online

To order an Alabama death certificate online, you need to order them through an independent company called VitalCheck Network Inc.

VitalCheck Network accepts major credit cards for payment, and offers the option to choose UPS for faster shipping, and for an additional fee.

While death certificates ordered directly through the Alabama Center for Health Statistics cost $15 for one copy, plus $6 for each additional copy, death certificates ordered online through VitalCheck cost $39.50, plus shipping costs.

Information Required to Obtain a Death Certificate in Alabama

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 Alabama ID requirements for applicants.

Information Required to Request a Death Certificate in Alabama

To order death records in Alabama, you need to provide information about the deceased to help the Center for Health Statistics or VitalCheck find the death record you need.

In Alabama, the more information you can provide, the faster the process will likely be.

Information requested includes:

  • Full legal name of the deceased
  • Date of death
  • Alabama county in which death occurred
  • Sex
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth (or age at death)
  • Deceased’s race
  • Name of the deceased’s spouse
  • Name of the deceased’s parents

For deaths that occurred in Alabama after 1991, you can also request to have death certificates issued with or without the cause of death stated.

Qualifications: Who Can Order a Death Certificate in Alabama

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

According to Alabama law, death certificates have “restricted access” for 25 years after someone has died. Only certain people can access restricted Alabama death records, and documentation is required. These people include:

  • Parent(s) of the deceased
  • Spouse of the deceased
  • Child(ren) of the deceased
  • Sibling(s) of the deceased
  • Adult grandchild(ren) of the deceased (who demonstrates entitlement)
  • Legal representative of the deceased’s family, or their estate
  • Informant listed on the death certificate

When requesting an Alabama death certificate, you’ll need to provide your name and relationship to the deceased individual, along with 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).

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 Alabama?

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

In Alabama, you can submit one piece of primary ID (must be current, or expired for no more than 60 days), or two pieces of secondary ID.

Types of acceptable primary identification include those listed below.

  • Current Alabama or out-of-state driver’s license
  • A state-issued ID card (not a driver’s license)
  • Passport (US or foreign)
  • Certificate of Naturalization (US only)
  • Citizenship Certificate or Citizenship ID Card
  • Military ID (US only)
  • Permanent or Temporary Alien Resident Card
  • Employment Authorization Card (US only)
  • Tribal ID
  • Voter Identification Card for Alabama
  • Boating License or Pilot’s License
  • Alabama Concealed Weapons License
  • School ID Card that Lists the Current School Term at the time of Application
  • Ex-Felon ID
  • US Department of Justice Inmate ID, along with either a letter of release (if inmate is no longer in custody) or supporting documentation from the institution (if still in custody)

If an agency or company is requesting a death certificate, the employee’s work ID is accepted as a primary form of ID.

If the applicant doesn’t have an acceptable form of primary ID, Alabama accepts two pieces of secondary ID instead. Acceptable secondary ID includes the following:

  • Government issued ID that has expired
  • Recent utility bill that is no more than 6 months old from the date of request
  • Individual’s work ID card
  • Voter registration card
  • A vehicle title document or vehicle registration
  • Property tax bill
  • Health insurance card
  • US Selective Service card
  • US military discharge form (DD 214)
  • Autism spectrum card
  • Immunization/vaccination record
  • Hunting or fishing license
  • Correspondence from social security (not a social security card)
  • A recent receipt from the DMV for fines that have been paid

If an applicant’s ID has been stolen, a copy of the police report or related official documents that support the ID theft is also acceptable as a piece of secondary ID.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting an Alabama Death Certificate

How much does an Alabama death record search cost?

Alabama charges $15 for one copy, plus $6 for each additional 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 an Alabama death certificate (ordered at the same time), the fee is $6 per copy.

If you choose to order Alabama death records online through VitalChek, it’s more expensive. At the time of writing, VitalChek charges $39.50 for Alabama death records, plus the cost of shipping.

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

Alabama law restricts access to vital records, including death certificates. In Alabama, access to death certificate is restricted for 25 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 Alabama, access is restricted to:

  • Parent of the deceased
  • Spouse of the deceased
  • Children of the deceased
  • Sibling of the deceased
  • Adult grandchild of the deceased (who demonstrates entitlement)
  • Legal representative of the deceased’s family, or their estate
  • Informant listed on the death certificate

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