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


After a loved one’s death, many people are surprised by just how much paperwork is required. One of the most important documents is the death certificate. You need the death certificate for a variety of things, from notifying the IRS of death to closing bank accounts. 

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In Ohio, there are three ways to order certificates from the Bureau of Vital Statistics. You can order certified copies online, by mail, or in person. Each option has its own pros and cons, and the cost is different depending on the method you choose. 

Because it’s complicated to know how to get a death certificate depending on your relationship with the deceased, we’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s how to get a death certificate in Ohio, step by step. As long as you have the right information, it’s relatively simple to get started. 

Who Can Request a Death Certificate in Ohio

There are a number of reasons for needing a death certificate. Whether you’re looking for a death certificate for your records, to close an account, or for genealogical research, you need to know who can request these records in the state of Ohio. 

Unlike other states, Ohio is what’s known as an “open-record” state. This means vital records (birth and death certificates) are public records. Anyone who can submit the basic facts of a certificate can request a certified copy.

The only exception to this is if you’re requesting a death record with someone’s social security number listed. Then, you’ll need to be authorized as a next-of-kin relative or as an executor by probate court. 

In other states, you need to prove your relationship to the deceased in order to request any personal information. In Ohio, you don’t need to be related to the deceased in any way. As long as you have the required information, you can complete the steps below. 

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Steps for Getting a Death Certificate in Ohio Using the Internet

As you might expect, the easiest way to get a certified death certificate in Ohio is over the internet. You can do this through the Ohio official website. When you purchase a death certificate online, your order is processed in the office within a few business days.

Note that Ohio only has death certificates for those who died in 1964 or later. For older records, you’ll need to contact the specific county’s vital records office. 

1. Consider the timing

In Ohio, not all requests for certified death records are available, depending on your timing. For a recent death, you’ll need to allow 12 weeks after the date of death before you can use the online form. 

If you need a death certificate within 12 weeks, you should contact your local health department. These can also usually be secured through your funeral director. 

2. Gather information

Before you begin the online form, make sure you have the right information on hand. This expedites the process and ensures there are no delays. You’ll need the following:

  • The legal name of the deceased
  • The date of death
  • The gender of the deceased
  • City or county of death
  • Mother’s first name, last name, and maiden name

You’ll also need access to a valid payment method, like a credit card. The Ohio website accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. To begin your request, visit Ohio’s Online Certificates Application and navigate to “Death Certificate.” 

3. Input all information

Once you begin the Online Certificate Application, you’ll need to enter the required information outlined above. To start, fill out the information found on the death certificate. This includes information about the deceased, when they passed, and where they died. 

Next, you’ll provide your mailing address. Your mailing address needs to be the same as the billing address on the credit card you use. Finally, you’ll enter your information as the applicant. 

4. Choose your quantity

Before navigating to the next page, select the number of death certificates you’re requesting. Each copy costs $21.50. This includes the cost of locating the record and certifying the copy. If your record is unable to be located, you’ll be refunded on request. 

By default, the quantity is set to one. You can change it as needed at the bottom of your page. When you’re ready to proceed, click “Continue.” 

5. Confirm and submit

Next, confirm that all of the information on your submission is correct. Any errors will delay the process, and it could prevent your record from being found. Once you’ve ensured everything is correct, click “Continue.” 

Finally, enter your credit card information. Again, your billing address should match your applicant information in the prior step. If you need any assistance during the payment process, contact the state’s customer service at 614-466-2531. When you’re done, click “Continue” to submit your request. 

You should receive your record in 5 to 10 business days. There are no express order options, and your order cannot be canceled once it’s submitted. 

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Steps for Requesting a Death Certificate in Ohio In Person

While the easiest way to request a death certificate in Ohio is to use the state’s online form, you might still prefer to do it via mail or in person. This is typically recommended if you don’t know the full information on a death record. Here’s how to request a death record in person in Ohio.

1. Complete an application

First, whether you choose to mail your application or submit it in person, you need to complete an Application for Certified Copies. This application is used for birth certificates, paternity affidavit, stillbirth abstracts, and death certificates. 

Download the application from the Ohio Vital Statistics website. From there, check the box at the top indicating that you’re requesting a death certificate. 

2. Fill in information about the person

Next, fill in the top portion of the application. This is the section for information about the person on the requested record. In this case, that means writing the full name of the deceased, any additional names they’ve used, their date of birth, and date of death. You also need to know the city and county where they died. 

Unlike on the online application, you have more flexibility for what information you can include. You’ll need to provide the person’s parents’ or guardians’ last names, including their mother’s maiden name. 

3. Request the specific type of record

Now you’ll move on to the next section titled “Charges.” This is where you specify whether or not you want the deceased’s social security number on the death record. If you do, you’ll also need to attach a copy of your identification showing you’re an authorized requestor (next of kin, court-authorized, and so on). 

Again, you’ll indicate the number of death record copies you’re requesting, as well as the total cost. You’ll need to multiply the number you’re requesting by $21.50 to determine how much you need to pay. 

4. Include your information

The last part of the application requests information about you. This is the same information that will be used for any future contact, so you should ensure it’s up to date. You’ll need your name, email, street address, phone number, city, and signature. 

5. Submit payment

You’ll need to include your payment with your request either in person or by mail. Cash is not accepted except at some in-person counters. You’re advised to include a check or money order payable to “Treasurer, State of Ohio.” 

It’s important to note that refunds will only be given if the record cannot be found. Like with online orders, you cannot request a refund or cancel after you’ve submitted your request. 

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6. Mail or deliver your application

Lastly, it’s time to mail or deliver your application to the correct office. If you bring it in person, find the closest office near you by exploring options on the Ohio Department of Health website. If you choose to mail it, address your document to the following address:

Ohio Department of Health
Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 15098
Columbus, Ohio 43215-0098
(614) 466-2531

Frequently Asked Questions: Getting a Death Certificate in Ohio

Getting a death certificate in Ohio is relatively easy compared to other states with stricter privacy laws. That being said, it’s normal to have questions throughout the process. 

Who’s allowed to get a death certificate in Ohio?

In Ohio, anyone can access a death certificate or other vital records as long as they know the required information for the application. This includes information like the deceased person’s full name, date and location of death, and parents’ names (previous names, too). 

However, if you wish to have a version of the death certificate with the social security number of the deceased, there are stricter requirements. In this case, you’ll need to be authorized to receive this information as the next of kin or someone who has been authorized by the court. 

How much does it cost?

Each copy of a certified death record in Ohio costs $21.50. This is how much you’ll pay per copy, and it covers the cost of searching, printing, and certification. There are no refunds unless your record can’t be located. 

How long does it take to receive a death certificate?

The amount of time per request depends on the way you choose to proceed. If you submit a request online, this takes between 5 to 10 business days. Otherwise, if you order by mail or in person, it can take several weeks depending on the current processing time. 

Get the Ohio Records You Need

Whether you’re completing your family tree or reporting a death to credit bureaus, the death certificate is one of the most important documents for families to have.

Luckily, it’s easy to order one (or several) in the state of Ohio regardless of your relationship to the deceased. As an open-record state, as long as you know key information, you can get a certified copy quickly and easily. 

Now that you know how to access important records in Ohio, you’re prepared for anything. While we don’t often think about the administrative tasks that happen after a loved one dies, these are an essential part of someone’s legacy. 

If you're an Ohio 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.

  1. “Birth & Death Certificates.” Cleveland Department of Public Health.
  2. “How to Order Certificates.” Ohio Department of Health.

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