how to get a death certificate in Louisiana

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

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

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

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

In Louisiana, death certificates are completed by a physician or coroner and the funeral director.

Louisiana 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 Louisiana

Louisiana’s Bureau of Vital Records and Statistics is in charge of vital records in Louisiana.

Louisiana has been filing death certificates for those who passed away in Louisiana since 1914, although the Orleans Parish began keeping deaths records in 1804.

The Louisiana Department of Health issues certified copies of Louisiana death certificates, as well as birth, marriage, and divorce certificates.

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

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

How to Get a Death Certificate in Louisiana?

Louisiana death certificates can be ordered by mail, by phone or fax, in person (pick up only) or via the kiosk system, and online.

How to Get a Louisiana Death Certificate by Mail

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

Vital Records Registry
PO Box 60630
New Orleans, LA 70160

The application form is available from Louisiana Department of Health.

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

The cost is $7 for one copy. Payment for mail-in applications can be made by check or money order made payable to Louisiana Vital Records.

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

How to Get a Louisiana Death Certificate by Phone or Fax

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

You can call 1-877-605-8562 or fax 1-866-761-1855.

Details about requirements can be found on the VitalChek website.

How to Get a Louisiana Death Certificate In Person or via the Kiosks

Louisiana doesn’t offer in-person ordering of death certificates at the central Vital Records Office in New Orleans. However, you can order the certificates you need via VitalChek, and choose the “will call” delivery option. Once your order is ready, you’ll get an email that you can go pick them up at the office.

Hours of operation is 8:00am to 3:30pm (excluding state holidays).

You can also order your certificates using the kiosk service option at designated locations. You’ll need to verify your identity to use the kiosks, but once it’s places, it will be shipped to you, or you can pick it up at the central office in New Orleans.

Kiosk hours of operation are 8:00am to 4:30pm (excluding state holidays).

How to Order a Louisiana Death Certificate Online

To order a Louisiana death certificate online, you need to order them through an independent company called VitalChek Network Inc.

VitalChek 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 Louisiana Department of Health cost $7 for one copy, death certificates ordered online through VitalChek cost up to $19.95, plus the cost of shipping to deliver the certificate(s).

Information Required to Obtain a Death Certificate in Louisiana

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 Louisiana ID requirements for applicants.

Information Required to Request a Death Certificate in Louisiana

To order death records in Louisiana, you need to provide information about the deceased to help the Bureau of Vital Records and Statistics or VitalChek find the death record you need.

In Louisiana, the following information is required:

  • First, middle, and last name of the deceased
  • Date of death
  • Sex
  • City of death
  • Parish of death
  • Parents’ full names (prior to any marriage)

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

Qualifications: Who Can Order a Death Certificate in Louisiana

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

Louisiana is a closed state when it comes to death certificates. That means only certain people can access restricted Louisiana death records, and documentation is required. These people include:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Mother or father
  • Adult child
  • Sister/brother
  • Grandmother or grandfather
  • Grandchild
  • Someone named in a court proceeding as being a member of the deceased’s immediate or surviving family
  • Those who are beneficiaries of the the estate, trust, or insurance policies or pensions (documentation required)
  • An official representative of the estate or deceased (documentation required)
  • An agent for surety of the deceased, if they are party to a criminal bail bond (documentation required)

When requesting a Louisiana death certificate, you’ll need to provide your name and relationship to the deceased individual, and may require 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 Louisiana?

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

In Louisiana, you can submit one piece of primary ID (must be current), or two pieces of secondary ID.

Types of acceptable primary identification include those listed below.

  • Current state driver’s license with photo
  • Current state picture ID with photo
  • Current U.S. military ID card with photo
  • Current U.S. or foreign Ppassport
  • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
  • Current school yearbook or current school ID with photo (high school students only)

If you don’t have an acceptable form of primary ID, check the list of secondary ID types Louisiana accepts here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting a Louisiana Death Certificate

How much does a Louisiana death record search cost?

Louisiana charges $7 for one 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 Louisiana death certificate (ordered at the same time), the fee is also $7 per copy.

If you choose to order Louisiana death records online through VitalChek, it’s more expensive. At the time of writing, VitalChek charges up to $19.95 plus shipping.

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