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Pennsylvania Department of Health - Death Certificate Information:

Before the business and legal issues of the estate can be pursued, it will be necessary to obtain certified copies of the death certificate. You can order them from the funeral director or directly from the Registrar of Vital Statistics website. You must provide the following information to order a death certificates: date of birth and place of death (county, and city/township/borough.)  It is always better to order a few more than what you think you will need. If you order certificates online, the turnaround time may be shorter. Most agencies will only accept certified death certificates and not photocopies.

Please Note:   Certified copies are $20.00 each and only available locally for 90 days after the death has occurred.  After that, the certificate is filed with the state and certified copies may take four to six weeks to obtain.   The Division of Vital Records charges an $8.00 credit card fee. 

Below is a list of organizations normally requiring a legal copy of the death certificate:

  • Airline Bereavement Discounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Certificates of Deposit
  • Credit Unions
  • Executor/Executrix of the estate to probate the will
  • Fraternal Organizations Burial Benefits
  • Veteran’s Benefits
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Motor Vehicle Bureau
  • Preneed Trust
  • Pension Plans or IRA Funds
  • Sale of jointly owned property
  • Stocks, Bonds and Government Bonds
  • Union Benefit Plans
  • Federal & State Income Tax Returns


Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website or call 877.724.3258 to learn more.