Why Do I Need a Death Certificate?
You may need a death certificate to claim survivor's pension benefits, collect life insurance, notify social security, or settle an estate.
Certificates Available Four Weeks after Death
Recent death records are usually available from this office four weeks after the event.
Information You'll Need
For the person listed on the certificate, you'll need to know:
- first and last names
- date of death
- city of death
Make sure you have accurate information for the person listed on the death certificate and be certain that the person died in the County of Santa Clara.
The certificate fee pays for the record search and you'll be charged the fee even if no record is found.
You'll need to provide your:
- phone number
- relationship to the person listed on the certificate
- government-issued id (driver's license, passport, permanent resident card)
You may designate another person to purchase a certified copy of an Authorized death certificate. If that person is not an authorized party, please complete the mail-in application form, have it notarized, and add the name of the person picking up the certificate to the form under “Name of Person Receiving Copies.”
Two Types of Certificates: Authorized and Informational
Certified Authorized Copy
A Certified Authorized Copy provides proof of death.
To purchase an Authorized death certificate, you need to be related to the deceased in one of the following ways:
- spouse or domestic partner
- legal guardian
For official business, governmental agencies and legal representatives can request a copy of a death certificate.
When you request a Certified Authorized Copy by mail or online, state your relationship to the person listed on the death certificate and sign that statement with a notary public present.
Certified Informational Copy
A Certified Informational Copy may be used as proof of death. However, please verify with the requesting agency to determine if this kind of copy meets their requirements.
If you don’t have a direct relationship to the person listed on the certificate, you can purchase an informational death certificate.
On a Certified Informational copy, signatures are concealed and the words, “Informational, not a valid document to establish identity” are printed across the face of the certificate.
The request form for this type of certificate does not need to be notarized.