Birth & Death Certificates
Birth certificates are used for many official governmental purposes such as Social Security, passport applications and school enrollments. They are sometimes used for non-official registrations such as little league.
Death certificates are needed for Social Security, life and health insurance and other time sensitive purposes.
There are two types of certified copies available to a requestor: Official and Informational.
California law defines individuals who can obtain an official copy of a birth or death certificate as:
- The registrant (person listed on the certificate) or a parent or legal guardian of the registrant. A child, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister, spouse or domestic partner of the registrant.
- A party entitled to received the record as a result of a court order, or an attorney or license adoption agency seeking the birth record in order to comply with the requirements of Section 3140 or 7603 of the California Family Code.
- A member of law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business. (Companies representing a government agency must provide authorization from the government agency.)
- An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant’s estate, or any person or agency empowered by statute or appointed by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant’s estate. (If you are requesting a Certified Copy under a power of attorney, please include a copy of the power of attorney with the application form.)
- Any agent or employee of a funeral establishment who acts within the course and scope of his or her employment and who orders certified copies of a death certificate on behalf of an individual specified in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code.
If you cannot obtain an authorized copy under California law, you can obtain an informational copy. An informational copy contains the same information as an authorized copy, but will have a legend across the face with the statement “informational, not a valid document to establish identity.”
Authorized and informational copies are both “certified copies.”
Signatures and social security numbers will be redacted.