Death Certificates

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Vital records are records of life events kept under governmental authority, including birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates. In the United States, vital records are typically maintained at the state level. In Missouri, the recording of birth and death began in 1910.

House Bill No. 894 of the 86th Missouri General Assembly enables local registrars of official county health agencies to issue computer-generated certifications of birth and death records.

Whenever it is necessary to establish an applicant’s right to information from a vital record, the local registrar may require identification of the applicant or a notarized sworn statement. Missouri law also gives the local registrar authority to withhold the issuance of a copy of a vital record when they find that an application was made through misrepresentation or fraud. The registrar has the authority to withhold the issuance of a copy of the certificate until a court determination of the facts has been made.

Recording of deaths began January 1, 1910.

The death certificate provides important information about the deceased such as age, sex, race, date of birth, his/her parents, and if married, the name of the spouse; information on circumstances and cause of death; and final disposition. This information is used in the application for insurance benefits, settlements of pension claims, and transfer of title of real and personal property.

Death certificates for deaths from 1980 to present are available at the local health department.

Certificates may be received at the health department after completing the Death section of the Application For A Vital Record and providing a valid picture ID. The fees are $14.00 for the first certificate and $11.00 for each additional certificate. Sample forms are provided for information only and may be obtained at the Butler County Health Department. Certificates are usually available within 10 minutes of completing the request.

Certificates can also be requested from the health department by mail. Applicants must complete the Death section and the bottom section of the application.  Mailed applications must be notarized by a notary public and enclosed with a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Not all Death Certificates are available at the local health department due to various reasons. In the event you cannot obtain at the local office, you may contact the following:
Bureau of Vital Records
930 Wildwood Drive
P.O. Box 570
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Telephone: (573) 751-6387
Fax: (573) 526-3846
You can also now order death certificates online through VitalChek, an online source for government-issued vital records that is secure and fast. 

Who may receive copies of death certificates?

  • All family members
  • Genealogists representing family members
  • Attorney acting on behalf of person or their family
  • A physician acting on behalf of the person or family
  • Funeral Director acting on behalf of the family

Who may not receive copies of death certificates?

  • Friends
  • Attorneys not acting on behalf of the person or family
  • Physicians not acting on behalf of the person or family
  • Individuals that cannot demonstrate a “direct and tangible interest”

Application For A Vital Record

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