The loss of a loved one may be a very difficult and frustrating time for some. If you have recently lost a loved we are sorry for your loss.

The steps to take now can be overwhelming, but requesting a death certificate is a great place to get started. You will need a death certificate to complete many of the administrative tasks that you will face in the weeks to come, so it only makes sense to order a copy of this as soon as possible.

While the exact process to order a death certificate can vary from county to county, there are basic guidelines that you can follow to make the request for a death certificate as quick and easy as possible.

I typically recommend ordering 8-10 copies of your loved one’s death certificate at the time you are making funeral arrangements. As mentioned above you will need them for many tasks over the next few weeks, so it’s best to have them on hand. The easiest way is to order them through the funeral home, as there is generally a lag time when you order straight from the county recorder’s office.

If you are obtaining them directly from the vital records department from the county office, some of the information below will be needed:

  • Full name of the deceased
  • The date of death
  • The place of death
  • The deceased’s date of birth
  • The purpose of your request
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Provide a self-addressed stamped envelope along with your request
  • Typing or printing the information is helpful

Here are some helpful websites if the death happened in North Carolina:

  1. Union County, North Carolina: http://tinyurl.com/inunioncounty

  2. Mecklenburg County, North Carolina: http://tinyurl.com/mecklenburgcounty

  3. Gastonia County, North Carolina: http://tinyurl.com/gastoncounty

If you are still not sure how to properly obtain a death certificate for your loved one, or you need to know whether or not you should obtain one based on your responsibilities, you should contact a local attorney for assistance. Not only will he or she provide you with information on how to obtain a death certificate but they may also help you navigate the complicated world of probate as well.