How to Get a Death Certificate in Arkansas: Step-by-Step

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Do you have reasons for needing a death certificate? Some of these reasons may cause more stress than others, especially if you don't know the process of obtaining a death certificate in the state of Arkansas.

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If you’re handling a loved one’s affairs or simply looking into your family tree, requesting a death certificate in Arkansas is pretty straightforward. Like many states, Arkansas provides you with a few different options, depending on how quickly you need your request processed. 

In this post, we'll explain how you can access death certificates in the state of Arkansas, specific methods for how to access them, and how to get copies. We'll also address some more general frequently asked questions about obtaining death certificates.

What Do You Need to Get a Death Certificate in Arkansas?

As you start your death certificate search, it will likely become apparent that some states and entities provide more access than others with fewer hoops to jump through. That being said, you should expect to show some sort of valid ID, no matter how simple your request. Later on in this post, we discuss eligibility requirements and what qualifies as an acceptable ID in Arkansas.

Those eligible to request death certificates in Arkansas include parents, children, spouses, grandchildren, maternal grandparents, informants, funeral home professionals, and beneficiaries. If you have questions about eligibility, you can contact the vital records department directly. 

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Steps to Get a Death Certificate in Arkansas

Let's learn how to get a death certificate in Arkansas. Like many states, Arkansas offers several options and some flexibility. If you’re more comfortable with one option over another but fear longer wait times, you can always expedite your request.

The following information has been compiled from the Arkansas Department of Health site.

Option 1: Online ordering

Online ordering is perhaps the most hassle-free option. You can place a request for a record in minutes through Vital Records. You can find multiple expedited shipping options available through this service. Pay the service fee, certificate fee, and charges for any expedited shipping options by debit or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express). Requests typically take seven to 14 business days from your order approval date plus additional shipping time.

Option 2: Mail-in request

You may order a certified copy of the death record by mailing in a completed (available here or from your local health unit, a check or money order made out to the Arkansas Department of Health (no cash or temporary checks), and a copy or copies of acceptable ID to the following address:

Arkansas Department of Health
Vital Records, Slot 44
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205

Option 3: Walk-in request

You may order a certified copy of the death record by coming into the Arkansas Department of Health’s vital records office at 4815 West Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72205. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. 

The office closes on state holidays. You can get certificate requests fulfilled the same day by 4 p.m as long as you're eligible to receive the certificate requested and have all the required information, including acceptable ID. If you arrive at the office after 4 p.m., you may pick up your request the following day or ask that it get mailed. 

Same-day service cannot happen for certain requests. These include non-routine certificate corrections, court orders, paternity affidavits, and genealogical requests prior to 1935. 

Option 4: Telephone request

If you prefer doing things over the phone, you also may request a death record via a toll-free number at 866-209-9482 with multiple expedited shipping options available through this service. You may pay a service fee and certificate fee. You can use a debit or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express). 

Request copies or certifications (and When to Do So)

When requesting a death certificate in Arkansas, you may need additional copies. That being said, sometimes all you’ll need to verify a death involve documents called death verifications.

Credit card companies, cellphone providers, and related entities require death verifications to verify a death. These look like an abbreviated version of certificates but are still just as official. You can read more about writing a notification of death letter to credit bureaus on Cake. 

Wondering how many copies to ask for? You may want to ask for five to 10 copies, particularly if you need to notify the IRS of a death

Finally, when should you request copies of death certificates in Arkansas? Request them all together for the most hassle-free and cost-effective option. We discuss how much death certificates cost in the FAQ section.

Frequently Asked Questions: Death Certificates in Arkansas

The steps for ordering a death certificate in Arkansas may seem clear. However, we also wanted to take the opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions, courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Health website.

Are death certificates public record in Arkansas?

In some states, vital records, such as death certificates, are public record, which means it's filed with a public agency. More specifically, however, public record means that the public can search and access this nonconfidential information.

In Arkansas, you can access death records for deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago. That being said, officially requesting copies of these records still requires eligibility, proper documentation, and fees.

Who can request a death certificate in Arkansas?

You can access a full list of individuals eligible to request vital records (birth, death, marriage, and divorce) in Arkansas. Specifically for making requests for death certificates, however, the following individuals can request access:

  • Mother
  • Father (if named on birth certificate)
  • Child
  • Spouse
  • Grandchild
  • Maternal grandparents of the deceased
  • Informant
  • Funeral home
  • Beneficiary (with proper documentation)

How much does a death certificate cost in Arkansas?

A death record costs $10 for the first copy and $8 for each additional copy of the same record ordered at the same time. If you choose to order online through Vital Records, you'll pay a $5 standard processing fee and a $1.85 non-refundable identity verification fee in addition to the cost of any expedited shipping options you select. 

However, state law requires a $10 search fee if a record isn't found or you don't make an additional request. You can't get the processing fee refunded. However, you will receive a refund of any amount you paid apart from these fees.

You may also want to note the walk-in payment options. These payment options include cash, credit or debit cards, or a check or money order made out to Arkansas Department of Health (no temporary checks permitted).

How long does it take to get a death certificate in Arkansas?

You may want to choose the method you use to obtain a death certificate in Arkansas based on wait time: 

  • Online requests: If you choose to make a request online, these typically take seven to 14 business days from the date your order gets approved plus additional shipping time, though you can get expedited rates.
  • Mail-in requests: As you may expect, mailing a request will take a bit longer. You should allow 10 to 14 days for processing, in addition to mail delivery time if you do not choose to expedite.
  • Walk-in requests: Unlike some other states, Arkansas offers walk-in appointments and quick turnaround times. In fact, if you visit the office before 4 p.m., you can usually take your certificate that same day. However, this also depends on the volume of requests and whether you have a routine request.
  • Telephone requests: You should expect telephone requests to take seven to 14 days, not counting shipping times, unless you choose to expedite.

Request a Death Certificate in Arkansas

Researching how to find a death certificate in Arkansas, much less following through on the actual request, might be the last thing you feel like doing. However, with proper research and a mindful decision for which request method works best for you, you can certainly get closer to finding peace of mind or at least checking off that to-do list.

For more resources on navigating end-of-life planning, including a different kind of to-do list you may have not considered (that is, a handy checklist), visit the rest of Cake. You can even set up a digital end-of-life planning profile on Cake’s free platform for yourself or a loved one. 


Sources:
  1. Order Death Records. Arkansas Department of Health. healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/order-death-records
  2. Vital Records Online Service. Arkansas Department of Health. vitalrecords.egov.com/CDC.VitalRecordsMVC.Web/Wizard/AR/Municipality/SelectMunicipality
  3. Government Issued Identification Documents. Arkansas Department of Health. healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/RESOURCE_-_ID_Requirements_-_ENGLISH.pdf
  4. Eligible Individuals for Birth and Death Certificates. Arkansas Department of Health. healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/Eligible_Individuals_for_Birth_and_or_Death_Certificates.pdf
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