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Death Certificates

A death certificate must be issued when a death occurs. Certified copies of the death certificate are legal documents issued through city and town clerk offices located throughout the State and charged for by the State of New Hampshire.

This document serves to facilitate funeral arrangements and enables the resolution of various personal, financial and legal business on behalf of the deceased. As such, we highly advise that you request death certificates as soon as possible.

Because they are legal documents, it is extremely important that you provide the correct information when we prepare the original certificate. After the original death certificate has been signed by the attending physician or medical examiner and completed by the funeral home, it is filed with the State Bureau of Vital Records Office.

Certified death certificates can be issued by any city or town clerk’s office. The statewide fee for certified copies of death certificates is $15 for the first and $10 for each additional copy. Please note: photocopies without the raised seal from the issuing clerk’s office are not accepted as legal documents. Death certificates may also be ordered online via VitalChek (www.vitalchek.com) or from the State of New Hampshire (http://sos.nh.gov/certcopies.aspx). You can order death certificates from VitalChek by phone at (877) 878-8007.

During the funeral arrangement conference, we will ask you how many certified copies of the death certificate you will need. As part of our service, we will obtain and pay for these certified copies on your behalf. Payment for death certificates is included in the cash advance portion of your invoice. Although we try to obtain certified copies prior to the completion of the funeral service, this is not always possible, especially if that death occurs out-of-town or the cause of death is pending, awaiting post-mortem examination results. If the family needs additional certified copies, they can be obtained from the issuing clerk’s office directly. The funeral home does not maintain a copy of the death certificate.

In order to assist you in ascertaining the number of certified copies needed, we have provided a worksheet listing some areas requiring this document. You may download the worksheet here.

Certified copies of the death certificate are necessary to properly close accounts, claim benefits, or to settle estate claims including but not limited to:

Account/Policy

Reason

Quantity

Life Insurance Policy(ies)

A copy for each insurance claim, including funeral home costs
If you are the beneficiary and are claiming benefits

Pension, IRA, other benefits

Transfer or roll over accounts
Claim spouse pension benefits

Bank accounts and credit union accounts

Transfer an individual or joint checking, savings or safe deposit box

Stocks and Bonds

Transfer or redeem stocks, bonds or treasury bills

Union Benefits

Claim union benefits

Title and Deeds to property

Transfer titles of real estate ownership

Vehicle registration and Title changes

Transfer ownership of vehicle(s)

Attorney and CPA

Wills, trusts and estate matters

Home Mortgage(s)

Transfer ownership

Credit Cards

Close accounts or transfer ownership

Utilities, cell phone and other contract services

Close accounts or transfer ownership

Social Security Administration

Claim benefits

U.S. Government

Claim Medicaid and other government benefits
Claim military benefits

U.S. Post Office

To set up mail forwarding to next of kin if the deceased lived alone

Rental storage space

Claim contents or take ownership

Additional copies

We suggest that you always order additional copies for unforeseen reasons, and to have for your own records

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