How to Get a Death Certificate in Colorado: Step-By-Step

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Every time a person passes away a legal record must be made, also known as a death certificate. Deaths must be communicated to your local or state records office promptly. Much like having your birth certificate, some people find it comforting to have these certificates for their records. 

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Getting a death certificate is essential if you’re looking to confirm the details and circumstances revolving around a person’s death or you’re managing your beloved’s holdings. This file includes personal information like parental details, occupational specifics, location of death, and the time of death.

These documents are mainly used to update government organizations, but there are several other forms that you might need a death certificate to complete. Documents like this are especially useful for executors that have to sort out the deceased’s affairs. This certificate is also necessary when it comes to notifying the IRS of a death, handling a bank account, filing an insurance claim, claiming any medicare or pension benefits, or sending a notification of death letter to the credit bureaus.

Are Death Certificates Public Record in Colorado?

It depends on each state whether death certificates are open for public records or not. There are also slight differences when it comes to what details will be in the file depending on the discretion of individual states.

Death certificates in Colorado are not public or available online as their regulations classify any death as a private record. However, if you are qualified, you can receive access to a death record on file. Duplicates of the certificate can be released to the following:

  • current spouse or ex-spouse
  • Parent
  • Family member
  • Government offices
  • Funeral directors
  • Beneficiaries
  • Medical examiners. 

If you think your loved one may have a file online already, you can do an online death certificate search to see if any records are available. 

You may be able to get a copy by contacting the Colorado office that holds death certificates on file. Another way to obtain one is from the funeral home if they helped to fill it out. You do have the option of visiting your Colorado office’s website to put in a request and they’ll keep you updated online during the process.

When requesting a death certificate duplicate for your records, you’ll need to show documentation that details your connection to the deceased, along with valid photo identification. This helps the offices to validate your identity and to make sure that these private records are released safely to the correct individuals.

Steps for Ordering a Death Certificate in Colorado

There are a handful of tasks that need to be completed to get a death certificate in Colorado. Keeping timing and organization in mind can aid a smooth process. You may want to have any relevant papers and files nearby to provide any necessary information to offices or agencies.

Make sure that you have all contact information for the individuals involved. If you are unsure about any previously recorded files on your loved one, your first step might be to check Colorado records online and locate if there has been a file already uploaded by a medical professional or a certified independent. If there is nothing on the record yet, your next step would be to complete a death certificate form. 

Below are the steps involved in receiving your loved one’s death certificate.

Step 1: Complete a death certificate form

If you want to obtain the deceased’s death certificate, your first step is to complete a death certificate form through the state of Colorado. You will need to provide basic information about the person, but don’t feel discouraged if you don’t know every detail needed about the deceased. Consider reaching out to someone who might have the answers. 

You will need to provide the office with some information like the deceased’s previous address, social security number, and the name of their parents. Additional details may include their marital status, veteran status, their widow, and the last job they worked at. The death certificate request form will also require you to document your government issued ID, such as a driver’s license. If it feels more comfortable, you also have the option of going to the State of Colorado’s website to set an in-person appointment.

Step 2: Contact the deceased’s medical professional 

Get in contact with the medical professional that handled your loved one’s case. They may be a coroner, physician, or medical examiner. Your loved one’s medical professional or funeral home will usually file the death certificate themselves. If so, they’ll work with the funeral director to submit the file to the appropriate state or county records office. If they haven’t filed, you’ll have to reach out to gain more information from them on the deceased’s medical records.

These professionals are the ones who confirm details such as the reason, time, and place of death. Remember that you have the option of communicating with any certified medical professional for other important details of the deceased, which may include end-of-life planning instructions, cause of death, or the time that they passed away. 

The death certificate form will have to include detailed information and a signature from the qualified professional. When reaching out to them, feel free to ask any questions you may have lingering, which may include details regarding the death or any family health concerns. Most professionals may have their contact information available online. 

Step #3: File certificate with the state of Colorado

A death certificate can be filed in-person, online, or through a professional who handles it for the family. The process from filing to receiving the document can take anywhere from three to 30 days. If you decide to mail the form to the state of Colorado’s office, your request may take longer to process.

With all the information from the previous steps, you will need to include the full name of the deceased, their date of death, and their place of death on the form. The form also requires that you provide the purpose of the request, contact information (address, email, phone number), and a signature from you or whoever the request is filed under.

All Colorado death certificates have specific requirements when it comes to formatting. The file will have to be prepared with black ink, as well as all of the necessary signatures. You should contact the proper office for more specifics on formatting requirements as well.

This is the last step in the process of receiving a certificate from the state of Colorado. Make sure that you have all required documents, information, and that you bring any questions you may have to the right people while going through the process. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Getting a Death Certificate in Colorado

It can be a challenge to complete everything after the death of your loved one. Remember that you can always contact the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to receive any additional information or to get answers to specific questions that you may have with this process. 

How much does it cost to get a death certificate in Colorado?

The first validated duplicate of a death certificate is $20. Each copy after is $13, which will be applied even if you request multiple orders at once. You can use your credit card online to purchase the file, but a $10 convenience charge will be applied to your total unless you go in person. They accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

It will cost an extra $20 if you choose to mail in your form and prefer the death certificates to be returned by FedEx or UPS. If you don’t mind the form being returned to you via regular mail there will be no additional fees. You can make your payment with a check or money order. For more on pricing details, refer to Colorado's vital records fee schedule.

How long does it typically take to receive a death certificate?

Once you deliver all required documentation, the death certificate will be mailed to you within three weeks. You can also apply in person for same-day service. The sooner you put in your request, the sooner you’ll receive your loved one’s certificate. 

The funeral director or medical professional is allowed to file the completed certificate with all available information if it’s not provided by any other individuals within the authorized time for filing the certificate. Regardless, the medical certification must contain the signature of the person in charge of filing it.

If the cause of death is unknown or undetermined it will be documented as unknown on the certificate. You have the option to amend a death certificate in the event you need to provide additional information within 30 days of the date of the death. 

Get Your Colorado Death Certificate

You can go online and file or schedule an appointment to talk to someone in-person for more help. Getting a death certificate from the state of Colorado shouldn’t take over a week. However, when mailing in orders, it may take up to 30 business days from when you send it in.

This is an important step in the end-of-life process and, although there are a few steps involved, it’s necessary to make sure it is handled properly and promptly. Once you have the death certificate, it may provide you with a sense of comfort and acceptance of their passing.


Sources:
  1. “Birth, Death, and Other Vital Records.” Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Public Health Accreditation Board, cdphe.colorado.gov/vitalrecords.
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