Vital records are kept on every person who is born and dies in America. Each town keeps its own vital records within different types of systems but most are publicly available, and you can obtain copies pretty easily. Infotracer collects and combines thousands of public record files to provide a complete history of just about anyone in the U.S.
When someone dies, the funeral home, cremation company or someone in charge of the personal remains will fill out a death certificate and file it with the local vital records office. It must be filed within a few days (usually three to ten) after death. The death certificate must be signed by a medical professional, either a doctor, coroner, or medical examiner who verified the state of death.
Death records include death certificates, coroner’s reports, obituaries as well as funeral home or cemetery records. Any paperwork that is filled out in connection with the death of a U.S. citizen is part of the death record.
Along with the place and date of death, you can learn a lot from a death record. You may find out the names of the deceased’s parents, children, and even siblings. You can find out where and when they were born and if they were married. Death records usually list any next of kin. The death records may also show if the deceased was a member of the military, what they did for work, their education level and the cause of death. Other records will show where they were interred or if they were cremated and where and when their service was held. Some even include a full or partial social security number.
In some states, death records are only available to immediate family or the executor of the will. Anyone with a vested financial interest and proof can access death records for that person. In other states, death records are publicly accessible without restriction.
The process for searching and finding death records on Infotracer is quick and easy. You start with just the person’s name and state and click to being your search. The vast database will run queries combining millions of public records and compile a complete report for you including death records, marital and divorce records and other personal information for the person you are searching.
The initial search is free, and you can see within seconds if the system finds a match for you. You can then narrow things down by birth date or other personal information. If the record comes from a state with restrictions, you may have to prove your relationship to the deceased before obtaining a copy.
There are quite a few reasons you need to have a copy of your loved one’s death record. In fact, after it has been filed, you may want to get at least ten certified copies; you will need them for various purposes when settling their affairs.
If your spouse is deceased, you may need one to transfer assets or credit cards into your name, and you will need to prove their death. You may also need to prove death to discontinue other automatic payments or loans with creditors.
Whenever you file for life insurance, you must include a certified copy of the official death certificate. Other agencies that require a copy are the social security benefits administration, veteran’s office for claiming veteran’s benefits and other offices where the deceased’s income or benefits are transferable to you.
One of the most common purposes for the death record is settling the deceased’s estate and distributing financial assets and property. Other items may include loans, union benefits, credit card debts, stocks or bonds, and other investments. You may also have to transfer title ownership of property, bank accounts, savings and vehicles at the DMV.
Another popular reason that people obtain death records is for genealogy and research of the family tree. You can find out a lot by pulling a few death certificates, which can then launch and even deeper search into related family members.