How to Get a Death Certificate in Louisiana (Original or Copy)

Updated

Do you need a death certificate in Louisiana? Like in most states, you will need to follow an exact process. In this post, we’ll discuss the ease of accessing vital records in Louisiana.

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Keep reading for step-by-step instructions for how to get a death certificate, and how to get copies. We'll also address some general frequently asked questions about obtaining death certificates.

Are Death Certificates Public Record in Louisiana?

First, let’s discuss public records as you begin your death certificate search. In a general sense, public record means that something has been filed by a public agency. More specifically, however, public record means that the public can search and access this nonconfidential information. In some states, vital records, such as death certificates, remain public record.

What does this mean for you and your request in Louisiana? According to the Louisiana Department of Health site, under Louisiana law, birth records must stay strictly confidential until 100 years after the deceased's year of birth. 

More importantly, death records stay confidential until 50 years after the year of death. You can find birth records older than 100 years and death records older than 50 years through the Louisiana State Archives

Louisiana is a "closed record" state. This means that birth and death certificates are not public record. All requests for birth or death certificates must include proper identification, appropriate fees, and a completed application.

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Steps for Receiving an Original Death Certificate in Louisiana

In Louisiana, you can take the following steps for ordering a death certificate. Depending on when you need the certificate, this can help you choose the right method for you. You may or may not want to pay expedited shipping fees, but you may need them to expand your options. 

Determine whether you qualify to request a death certificate

Do you qualify to request a death certificate in Louisiana? According to the department of health site, the following individuals can request a death certificate in relation to the person named on the document: 

  • Surviving spouse 
  • Mother or father 
  • An adult child 
  • Sister or brother 
  • Grandmother or grandfather 
  • Grandchild 
  • A person named in a court proceeding as a member of the immediate or surviving family of the person named in the certificate*
  • The beneficiary of an insurance policy or trust (must have a signed copy of the policy listing applicant as beneficiary)*
  • A succession representative (must provide a certified Letter of Testamentary or Letter of Administration certified by the Clerk of Court)* 
  • The credentials of an attorney, together with a written declaration that he is preparing a small succession pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Article 3431 et seq for the deceased person whose death certificate is being requested OR is representing one of the above entitled named parties (must be on letterhead and include bar roll number)* 

*Note: These requests must be submitted to the LA Bureau of Vital Records and Statistics central office in person or by mail.

Choose your order method

You can request a death certificate in person, by mail, or through the phone or online. Depending on your budget and your turnaround requirements, one of these options may make the most sense for you.

Option 1: Order in person

If you wish to order a death certificate in person, you may find your options limited and not available on state holidays. You can always call ahead to confirm. 

Under normal circumstances, you may complete an application for a certified copy of a death certificate. Bring your photo identification and correct fees to the Vital Records Central Office. Walk-in services accept cash, check, money orders, and credit/debit cards as forms of payment.

The next option: Participating Louisiana Clerks of Court offer certified copies of Louisiana Death Certificates for deaths occurring on or after July 7, 2012. You'll pay an additional fee for this service.

Finally, you may also order in person from a kiosk service location. Kiosk orders require the user to successfully complete an identity authentication screening. Once you place the kiosk order, you get the order via USPS or expedited shipping or you can order it for pickup at Vital Records Central Office. A security fee and shipping costs apply to kiosk orders.

Option 2: Order by mail

The next option may not make sense if you’re on any sort of tight deadline. However, you can order requests by mail at any time. You may mail your completed request, a copy of your photo identification, and correct fees to:

Vital Records Registry
P.O. Box 60630
New Orleans, LA 70160

Why is this option less than favorable? Once you complete the application to obtain a certified death certificate and send it in, you will have to allow approximately eight to 10 weeks for delivery. Plus, you'll pay a $0.50 state charge on each mail order.

Option 3: Order online

Finally, the most convenient and fastest option involves placing your request online through a trusted vendor called VitalChek. Many states use this provider as their only trusted vendor. 

You can use a credit card to place an order online, via fax, or over the phone. However, you'll pay additional fees when using this service provider or requesting expedited services. For example, you'll pay a $0.50 state charge to each mail or VitalChek order. Louisiana vital offices do not accept credit cards, so this option just works better for those in a pinch. 

To order using the VitalChek Network, visit the website or call 1-877-605-8562. If you have already placed a VitalChek Network order, you may also check the status of your order. To inquire about an order placed with VitalChek, call 1-877-605-8562. 

Steps for Ordering a Copy of a Death Certificate in Louisiana

You may want to request copies of the death certificate at the time of your initial death certificate request in Louisiana to close out accounts or coordinate other arrangements. 

  • You can buy all copies of death certificates at the same low rate of $7 each. You may be subject to some additional fees. In fact, in many states, the first copy costs a bit more than any successive copy.
  • Death verifications, another type of official paperwork filed with death certificates, verifies the death as legitimate. These forms are generally more straightforward and do not look like actual certificates.

Credit card companies, cellphone providers, and related entities may only need verifications to verify the death of your loved one. You will need this information to cancel these types of services after your loved one has passed away. You can read more about writing a notification of death letter to credit bureaus on Cake. 

Even if death verifications sound like the type of form you’ll need to take care of your loved one’s arrangements, again, you should still request copies of your loved one’s death certificate. You may also need to notify the IRS of a death

Frequently Asked Questions: Death Certificates in Louisiana

Hopefully the process of how to get a death certificate in Louisiana seems pretty easy so far. We also wanted to take the opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions. The answers provided below come from the Louisiana Department of Health site.

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

In-person or kiosk requests will likely take a few weeks unless you pay expedited fees. Next, mail-in requests require eight to 10 weeks for delivery. Finally, VitalChek (online and telephone) orders can take anywhere from a few weeks to just a few days if you choose to pay expedited fees. 

How much does a death certificate cost in Louisiana?

All copies of death certificates in Louisiana cost $7 each. However, make all of your requests at once so you do not have to pay shipping or expedited fees multiple times.

You'll pay a $0.50 charge to all mail-in and VitalChek orders. Clerk of Court orders cost $26 per copy and kiosk orders may cost additional fees. VitalChek orders also have the option of expedited costs for the fastest turnaround times.

Can you order multiple copies of a death certificate in Louisiana?

Yes! You can order more than one copy of a death certificate in Louisiana. All copies of death certificates cost the same low rate of $7 each. 

Order Your Louisiana Death Certificates

Just about everything about end-of-life planning causes stress. In fact, you may have dreaded getting a death certificate in particular. Even if you look up this information as part of genealogical research instead, you might have some reservations.

However, you’re several steps closer to getting it done by looking up background information on this process. Just work a bit now for some much-needed peace of mind later. 

For more resources on navigating end-of-life planning, including a 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. Request A Birth or Death Certificate. Louisiana Department of Health. ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/2663
  2. Identification Requirements. Louisiana Department of Health. ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/636
  3. Service Fees. Louisiana Department of Health. ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/691
  4. Application for Copy of Birth/Death Certificate. Louisiana Department of Health. ldh.la.gov/assets/oph/Center-RS/vitalrec/Birth_DeathOrderingPacket.pdf
  5. Vital Records Central Office. Louisiana Department of Health. ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/detail/4649
  6. OPH - Clerk Death Certificate Issuance Locations. Louisiana Department of Health. ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/320
  7. OPH - Vital Records Kiosk Locations. Louisiana Department of Health. ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/directory/category/278
  8. Louisiana Vital Records. VitalChek. vitalchek.com/vital-records/louisana/louisiana-vital-records
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