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How can i get a copy of the death certificate for my mother?

Plainsboro, NJ |
Filed under: Probate

the reason the state of nj won't send it to me is because i do not know my mother's maiden name and it is apparently on the death cert. i am estranged from other family and they refuse to tell me what she died of and where she is buried. that's the only reason i want a copy of the death cert. is there a legal way to obtain this without having that one piece of info?

Attorney Answers 3


You haven't indicated what you need the death certificate for, so, I assume you would only require a copy, and not an original. If this is the case, there may be a few work-arounds. If you know when she died, where she died, her DOB, SS# and other particulars, you should certainly be able to obtain without reciting her maiden name.

Was there a probate of her estate? Check with the register in probate for the county where she resided when she passed to see the case file. A copy of the death certificate should be included in the record.

Search online. With electronic document availabilty expanding into public records, there are various sites, such as that offer vital records searches which may net the document you need.

Please note that this answer is generic in nature and does not constitute legal advice with regard to any particular circumstances or facts and does not establish an attorney client relationship.

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Death certificates are public records. If you know the town in which she died, you can seek it from the Registrar of Vital Statistics. If that doesn't work, you should be able to compel the production of one by getting an order from the county probate court.

This response does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. It is also not to be taken as firm legal advice as such would be contingent on a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter. The response is meant to be a helpful guide to a question in a manner which reflects the limited information provided by the inquirer.

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The Department of Vital Statistics should be able to help you. However, if they won't, try to find the website of the local newspaper where she lived when she died and search the obituaries. Usually, there is a very short obituary published even if it is not submitted or written by the family.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER-An attorney can only give you competent legal advice if he or she knows all the facts and is licensed to practice law in the state specific to your question. The comments above are not intended to be legal advice but general comments based on the limited information provided in the question. I am only licensed to practice in the State of Tennessee.

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