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

Updated

Getting a death certificate is more than obtaining a paper record that records the death of a loved one. There are many reasons for needing a death certificate such as needing a notification of death letter to send to the credit bureaus, obtaining banking or real estate documents, family history or genealogy purposes, or sending the IRS a death notification. No matter the case, we’ll guide you step-by-step on how to get a death certificate in Mississippi.

Jump ahead to these sections:

While there may be a few restrictions and some guidelines you have to follow, Mississippi has made the process of obtaining a death certificate as easy as possible and reasonably quick, too. However, you might have to dig a little deeper in some cases, especially if you're conducting some ancestry research. 

Either way and for information on how to get a death certificate in the Magnolia State, keep scrolling.

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

Mississippi’s requirements to obtain a death certificate are simple and relatively straightforward, especially if you have access to their online portal. The website lists the following as necessary:

  • Evidence of personal or material needs for the death certificate.
  • A completed form titled “APPLICATION FOR CERTIFIED MISSISSIPPI DEATH CERTIFICATE.”
  • Sufficient funds for the primary and any additional certified copies of the death certificate, payable at the time of the request.
  • A suitable form of identification, such as a valid driver’s license or other state-issued ID.
» MORE: Create a free online memorial. Honor your loved one, share funeral details, and collect memories and tributes.

Steps to Get a Death Certificate in Mississippi

Let's get down to the specifics on how to obtain a death certificate in Mississippi. The process will go smoothly if you have access to a computer and a printer. If you can access these things at a local library, it'll be just as quick. On the other hand, you can also head to a local Vital Records office so that you can still get a death certificate without too much headache.

Step 1: Download and print the application

Go to the website for the Mississippi State Department of Health. You will want to click on the “Application for Certified Mississippi Death Certificate” in either English or Spanish. If you live near the Vital Records office located at 222 Marketridge Drive in Ridgeland, Mississippi, you can pick up a copy and fill it out while you’re there.

Step 2: Fill out the application

Here are the pieces of information you will need to have handy in order to obtain a death certificate. 

  • Full name
  • Date and place of death
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Age at death
  • Names of father/mother or parents
  • Funeral director and funeral home address
  • Your relationship with the deceased or interest in the document
  • The purpose of your request

Note, if you don’t have information about the exact date or place of death, the Mississippi Department of Health conducts a 5-year search at no cost.

Step 3: Make a copy of your photo ID

Providing proper government or state-issued identification is necessary to obtain the death certificate. Vital Records will accept any of the following:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • State-issued photo ID
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. military ID
  • Valid school, college, or university identification 
  • Tribal ID
  • Temporary resident card
  • Alien registration/permanent resident card
  • Employment ID

The Vital Records office will also accept two forms of identification from the following list:

  • Social Security Card
  • Utility bill (with address)
  • Work ID
  • Medicaid card
  • Veteran universal access ID card
  • Snap/EBT Card (with address)

Guardians and legal representatives must also submit proof of relationship. If being a legal representative is your role, then you’ll need to supply: 

  • Attorney bar number
  • Name of person being represented
  • Relationship to the registrant

Any local, state, and federal agencies must indicate so in the section labeled “relationship” and include the name of their agency. Send the photocopy of your ID along with other necessary documents or bring one with you to the physical office in Ridgeland.

» MORE: Create a free online memorial. Honor your loved one, share funeral details, and collect memories and tributes.

Step 4: Cash or Money Order

You’ll need to make a payment of $17, which includes a nonrefundable death certificate search fee. The $17 will also entitle you to one certified copy of the death certificate. Additional certified copies will cost $6 each. Here are some of the acceptable forms of payment of these fees:

  • A check written for the total amount with current information, including your name, address, bank branch name, and bank branch address.
  • A money order payable to Mississippi Vital Records. 
  • Do not send cash by mail.

You may also make a payment by phone (1-877-295-4229) or through their online ordering system.

Should the above options not work, the Vital Records office has an additional number you can call 601-206-8200 for assistance. They will provide a pre-recorded message detailing the requirements needed to process the order and any other options you may have.

Note: If Vital Records does not find a death certificate, they'll refund you for the value of the total number of copies that you ordered, but not the original $17.

Step 5: Mail your documents

Once you have filled out the form and provided the appropriate documentation, you can submit the payment and paperwork to the following address:

Mississippi Vital Records
P.O. Box 1700
Jackson, MS 39215-1700

You may include a self-addressed, prepaid envelope if you require a special courier service.

For anyone who lives close enough to Jackson, you can visit the MSDH Vital Records office at 222 Marketridge Drive in Ridgeland. The office is best accessed off of Highland Colony Parkway. Otherwise, if you have any questions, you can call their office at 601-206-8200 or email them at VRInfo@HealthyMS.com.

Frequently Asked Questions: Death Certificates in Mississippi

People most often ask whether or not records are public, who can obtain the records, and how long will someone have to wait to receive the certified death certificates. 

Are death certificates public record in Mississippi?

Those seeking current or recent records from 1912 to the present can access death certificates by showing proof of ID and evidence of personal or material needs. However, some documents from 1879 through 1912 are only available on microfilm. A few counties have collected and maintained death records from 1822 through 1912, but they may be incomplete. Those are the following counties:

  • Hancock
  • Harrison
  • Hinds
  • Lauderdale
  • Panola
  • Pike
  • Tallahatchie

As Mississippi did not previously require counties to list deaths before 1879, you may end up with few details. That said, you can also check out annals or archives from these alternative sources:

  • Cemeteries
  • Churches
  • Bibles
  • Journals or letters
  • Census
  • Newspapers
  • Probates or will

In many cases, online genealogy databases will help. Some are free, such as American Ancestors, Family Search, Fold 3, Ancestry, while others are fee sites. 

» MORE: Create a free online memorial. Honor your loved one, share funeral details, and collect memories and tributes.

Who can request a death certificate in Mississippi?

To request a death certificate for deaths that have occurred within the last 50 years, non-restricted, eligible people must show proof of identity and fall within one of the following categories:

  • Parents as listed on the person’s death record or certificate.
  • Spouses, siblings, grandparents, or grandchildren of the person listed on the death record or certificate.
  • Informants or legal guardians of the person listed on the death record or certificate.
  • Those who have a legal interest in the person’s death record or certificate.
  • The funeral home that is specifically listed on the death certificate as the one which took possession of the body.

You will then be asked to sign the document and state that you can request the documents legally and without false pretense.

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

The Vital Records office says that it may take anywhere from 7 to 10 business days to mail the requested documents to you. In addition, they ask that you wait three weeks from the original date of the request before inquiring about the status of the documents. This timeframe accounts for the initial 7 to 10 business days, and any additional time it may take for the USPS to return the records to their office.

If you’ve made a special request to have the certified death certificates couriered, you’re requested to contact the Vital Statistics office within seven days. You also have six months to notify the Vital Statistics office if you have failed to receive the certified death certificates. 

In the event of an error regarding your mailing address or you have moved, they will honor your original request and courtesy send them to the new or appropriate address.

Finding Death Certificates for Relatives in Mississippi

Whether you're settling an estate or working on some genealogy records at home, gathering your family's history can be an essential and sometimes curious task. 

This is especially true if the hunt takes you on an adventure into church or cemetery records, or even online where you can find information about your family dating back generations, if not hundreds of years.

If you're a Mississippi resident and ready to start preparing your own end-of-life planning documents, Cake has Advance Care Planning forms you can download. To help ease your planning, we have all the documents you need in one place.


Sources:
  1. Lawthers, Ann. “Getting Started: Tips to Help You on Your Way.” American Ancestors, American Ancestors, 2021. americanancestors.org
  2. National Center for Health Statistics. “Where to write for vital records - Mississippi.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, 4 April 2017. cdc.gov
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