how to get a death certificate in arkansas

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

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

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

Arkansas death certificates are legal documents, issued by the Arkansas Department of Health’s Vital Records Office, that record the date, location, and cause of a person’s death that occurred within Arkansas.

In Arkansas, death certificates are completed by medical professionals, such as physicians or registered nurses caring for the deceased at the time of death, and coroners or medical examiners, as well as the funeral home.

Arkansas law requires all deaths that occur within the state be registered via a death certificate within 10 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 Arkansas

Arkansas’ Vital Records office is in charge of vital records in Arkansas.

Arkansas has been filing death certificates for those who passed away in Arkansas since 1914, although some records from Little Rock and Fort Smith date back to 1881.

The Arkansas Department of Health’s Vital Records Office issues certified copies of Arkansas death certificates, as well as birth, marriage, and divorce certificates.

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

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

How To Get A Death Certificate in Arkansas?

Arkansas death certificates can be ordered online through Vital Records, by mail, in-person, or by telephone.

How to Get an Arkansas Death Certificate by Mail

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

Arkansas Department of Health
Vital Records, Slot 44
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205

The application form is available in English and in Spanish from the Arkansas Department of Health.

The pro of ordering an Arkansas death certificate by mail is that it’s convenient, doesn’t require an in-person visit to the Vital Records office in Little Rock, and is slightly cheaper than ordering online.

The cost is $10 for one copy, plus $8 for each additional copy. Payment for mail-in applications can be made by check or money order made out to the “Arkansas Department 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 Arkansas Death Certificate Over the Phone

To order a death certificate by phone in Arkansas, call (toll free) 1-866-209-9482.

You can choose multiple shipping options for your order, and can pay by debit or credit card. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover are accepted.

How to Get an Arkansas Death Certificate In Person

To order a death certificate in person in Arkansas, you can go to the Arkansas Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records in Little Rock, which is located across the street from War Memorial Stadium at 4815 West Markham St.

The Office is open weekdays from 8am to 4:30pm, and closed on state holidays.

For in person visits, the Vital Records office in Little Rock can issue a certified copy of the death certificate on the same day, as long as you arrive before 4pm, have filled out the application correctly, are considered eligible to get the certificate, and it’s a relatively routine request. More complicated requests, such as corrections to death certificates, may take longer.

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 cash, credit card, debit, or check or money order made out to “Arkansas Department of Health”.

The cost for ordering in-person is $10 for one copy, plus $8 for each additional copy.

How to Order an Arkansas Death Certificate Online

You can order an Arkansas death certificate online through Vital Records. It typically takes 7 to 14 days once your request is approved, plus shipping time.

The cost to order online is $10 for the first copy, plus $8 per additional copy. There’s also an additional $5 processing fee and $1.85 identity verification fee if you choose to order online.

Payment for online orders can be made via debit or credit card, plus shipping costs.

Information Required to Obtain a Death Certificate in Arkansas

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 Arkansas ID requirements for applicants.

Information Required to Request a Death Certificate in Arkansas

To order death records in Arkansas, you need to provide information about the deceased to help the Vital Records Office or VitalCheck find the death record you need.

In Arkansas, the following information is required:

  • First, middle, and last name of the deceased
  • Date of death
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Place of death (town/city, county, and state)
  • Name and address of the funeral home
  • Name and address of attending certifier

The application form will also ask you whether, in the case of an infant death, the infant was stillborn or not.

Qualifications: Who Can Order a Death Certificate in Arkansas

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

According to Arkansas law, death certificates have “restricted access” for 50 after someone has died. Only certain people can access restricted Arkansas death records, and documentation is required. These people include:

  • Mother
  • Father (if father is named on the birth certificate)
  • Adult child(ren)
  • Spouse
  • Grandchild
  • Maternal grandparents
  • Informant
  • Funeral home
  • Beneficiary with documentation

When requesting an Arkansas 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 Arkansas?

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

Along with the application, you need to provide a valid driver’s license or two forms of alternative ID.

If the applicant doesn’t have a current driver’s license or state-issued ID, Arkansas accepts two pieces of secondary ID instead. Acceptable secondary ID includes the following:

  • Employment ID card with photo, along with a pay stub or W-2
  • School, university, or college ID card, along with official proof of current school enrolment (report card, etc)
  • Department of Corrections ID card, along with probation or discharge documents
  • Social Security or Medicare Card
  • Pilot’s License
  • Car registration or title with current address listed
  • U.S. Selective Service Card
  • Voter Registration Card
  • Filed Federal tax form (with current address and signatures)
  • Bank statement or utility bill (gas, water, sewer, phone) with current address
  • Court documents listing current address

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting an Arkansas Death Certificate

How much does an Arkansas death record search cost?

Arkansas charges $10 for one copy, plus $8 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 Arkansas death certificate (ordered at the same time), the fee is $8 per copy.

If you choose to order Arkansas death records online, it’s slightly more expensive due to processing fees.

The cost to order online is $10 for the first copy, plus $8 per additional copy. There’s also an additional $5 processing fee and $1.85 identity verification fee for online orders.

Payment for online orders can be made via debit or credit card.

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

Arkansas law restricts access to vital records, including death certificates. In Arkansas, access to death certificate is restricted for 50 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 Arkansas, access is restricted to:

  • Mother
  • Father (if father is named on the birth certificate)
  • Adult child(ren)
  • Spouse
  • Grandchild
  • Maternal grandparents
  • Informant
  • Funeral home
  • Beneficiary with documentation

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