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Pennsylvania Department of Health - Death Certificate Information:

Before the business and legal affairs of the estate can be pursued, it will be necessary to obtain death certificates. For the first three months following the date of death, death certificates are ordered through the funeral home. After three months, they are ordered online through Pennsylvania's Division of Vital Records and can only be ordered by the next of kin or someone who has the decedent’s personal information. If a military discharge is provided to the funeral home, a veteran, their spouse, or dependent children are eligible for free death certificates from the State. It is always better to order a few more death certificates than you think you need. Agencies will only accept certified copies of death certificates and not photocopies.

Please Note:   Certified copies are $20.00 each.  After the 90 days, 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.