how to get a death certificate in maine

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

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

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

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

In Maine, death certificates are completed by the funeral director, as well as a medical professional, which may be a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant who cared for the deceased, or the chief medical examiner or medical examiner.

Maine 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 Maine

Maine’s Division of Public Health Systems is in charge of vital records in Maine.

Maine has been filing death certificates for those who passed away within the state since 1892.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services issues certified copies of Maine death certificates, as well as birth, marriage, and divorce certificates. However, if you need a death certificate from before 1892, you’ll need to contact the municipality in which the death occurred.

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

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

How to Get a Death Certificate in Maine?

Maine death certificates can be ordered by mail, by phone, in-person or online using an approved third-party provider.

How to Get a Maine Death Certificate by Mail

To order a death certificate by mail in Maine, print and fill out the application form, and mail it (along with the fee or payment information, photo ID, and a self-stamped long return envelope) to:

Vital Records
11 State House Station, 220 Capitol Street
Augusta, ME 04333-0011

The application form is available from Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

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 payable to the “Treasurer – State of Maine”.

How to Get a Maine Death Certificate by Phone

To order a death certificate by phone in Maine, you can go through an approved 3rd party provider, VitalChek.

The phone number is 1-877-523-2659. You can pay for orders made via VitalChek, but there is an additional fee for using this service, in addition to the state fee for death certificates (the state fee is $15 for the first copy, plus $6 for additional copies).

How to Get a Maine Death Certificate In Person

To order a death certificate in person in Maine, you can go to the Vital Records Office in Augusta, Maine, located at 220 Capitol Street.

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

How to Order a Maine Death Certificate Online

To order a Maine 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 Maine Department of Health and Human Services cost $15 for one copy, plus $6 for each additional copy, death certificates ordered online through VitalChek cost $30, plus the cost of shipping to deliver the certificate(s).

Processing time for online orders through 3rd party provider is up to 10 business days, plus shipping time.

Information Required to Obtain a Death Certificate in Maine

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 Maine ID requirements for applicants.

Information Required to Request a Death Certificate in Maine

To order death records in Maine, you need to provide information about the deceased to help the Division of Public Health Systems find the death record you need.

In Maine, the following information is required:

  • Full name of deceased
  • Date of death
  • Place of death (city/town)

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

Qualifications: Who Can Order a Death Certificate in Maine

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

According to Maine law, certified death certificates have “restricted access” for 50 years for fetal deaths and 25 years for non-fetal death certificates after the date of death.

While anyone can access uncertified copies, and records from before 1892 or older than 25 years, only certain people can access restricted certified Maine death records. These people include:

  • Spouse or registered domestic partner
  • Parents or legal guardian
  • Descendants (including children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren with proof of lineage)
  • Authorized representatives
  • Genealogists (must have a researcher card issued by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Data, Research and Vital Statistics).

When requesting a Maine death certificate, you’ll need to provide your name and relationship to the deceased individual, along with documentation that proves your relationship and lineage to the deceased, such as a birth certificate (if you are their child).

What ID is Needed to Get Death Certificates in Maine?

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

Along with the application, you need to include a valid government-issued driver’s license, passport or another type government issued photo identification.

If the applicant doesn’t have an acceptable form of photo identification, Maine accepts other IDs listed types here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting a Maine Death Certificate

How much does a Maine death record search cost?

Maine charges $15 for one copy, plus $6 for each additional copy of a death certificate. 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.

If you choose to order Maine death records online through VitalChek, it’s more expensive. At the time of writing, VitalChek charges $30.

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