A death certificate is an official document that declares the cause of death, location of death, time of death and other personal information about the deceased. When someone dies in New Jersey, the death must be registered with the State Department of Health and Vital Statistics. The vital records office can then issue copies of the death certificate, which you may need to handle a deceased person's affairs or for your own personal records.
There are several reasons why you may need to obtain a certified copy of the death certificate. Most often it's to serve as proof of death for legal purposes.
These reasons may include:
In New Jersey, there are typically three ways to order certified copies of a death certificate:
Individuals eligible to receive death certificates are:
Proof of relation to the deceased person may be required when submitting the application to the office of vital statistics or the registrar. This documentation can be provided in the form of a birth certificate or letter stating who the applicant is representing and how they are related to the person named on the record.
In some instances, the person that needs a death certificate may not be one of the eligible individuals who can make application for a copy. For instance, if a cousin is named as the deceased's beneficiary of an insurance policy, they may need to ask the life insurance company to request the death certificate directly from the State Bureau of Vital Statistics and Registration as they are not eligible to apply on their own.
The cost of death certificates will vary depending on how and where you order them.
Currently the State's Registrar's Office in Trenton, where many funeral home's order death certificates from when they register the death, charge $25 for the first copy and $2 for each additional copy. The state registrar will issue the certificates and send them directly to the funeral home via mail.
To expedite the process and provide death certificates to you more quickly, your funeral home may choose to order death certificates directly from the municipality of which they are located. Each municipality sets its own fees which may be more expensive than what the state registrar charges, ranging anywhere from $10 to $25 per copy.