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Iowa Death Records: How to Perform an Iowa Death Records Search

Iowa Death Records: How to Perform an Iowa Death Records Search
February 12, 2023

In Iowa, access to the death records in the custody of the local registrar is an important consideration in the Iowa state code(section 22). 


However, the eligibility criteria make its access somewhat exclusive to the decedent's relatives or other authorized persons. The death record is closed until a certain period, in which case members of the public can be allowed to inspect it.


Interested requesters get to pay certain service charges and meet other conditions before their application can be processed. If you are interested in finding an Iowa death record, this article contains information that can help you. 

Iowa Death Records Explained

When a death record is issued in Iowa, it is usually in response to a request by a person or organization eligible to collect it. The death record provides informational data about the record's subject and the circumstances surrounding their death. 


It is a document created via a combination of efforts from the funeral home, a medical certifier or examiner, and the local registrar.


The death record is later filed under the state's Vital Records system and classified as a vital record. 


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It may be sealed for a period and only accessible to the decedent's direct relatives, legal representatives, or other authorized persons. 


Persons who can provide a court order or prove tangible interest in the record may also be allowed to view these confidential documents during this period. 

What Can I Find In An Iowa Death Records

An Iowa death record contains information from persons related to the deceased and medical professionals familiar with the facts of the person's death. This information includes:


* The decedent's name, gender, race, and other relevant biodata details
* The decedent's occupation, age, and address as of the time of death
* Their place of death
* Their marital status
* The name of the decedent's parents, spouse, sibling, children, or next of kin
* The name of the funeral director
* The name of the medical certifier 

How Are Iowa Death Records Created?

The process of creating Iowa death records must be completed within a few days. It begins with the collection of the decedent's biodata information by the funeral director in whose custody the corpse is temporarily kept. 


Certain information, such as the decedent's full name, age, and race, are supplied by their relative and entered into the state's Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS).


The EDRS platform is also used to transmit the record to a medical certifier or the decedent's physician to enable them to certify the cause of death. Next, the local registrar accesses the EDRS to complete the registration process. 


All of the persons mentioned above get to enroll in this platform. They use it to attach their name and signature on the record as means to fulfill their obligations in the creation of the death records.


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Where Can I Find Iowa Death Records 

Iowa death records can be ordered for and collected in person, by mail, and online. 


If you opt to apply in person for the death record, you can make your way to the state's Vital Records Office at the following address:


Iowa Department of Public Health,
Bureau of Health Statistics,
Lucas State Office Building, 1st Floor,
321 E. 12th Street,
Des Moines, IA 50319-0075


You may obtain and submit an application form at the vital records office or draw up a written request with help from the department staff. 


Your application must be submitted with a copy of a valid government-issued Photo ID and the full processing fee. The requested death certificate should be available for collection in a few hours.


If you apply by mail to the same address, you can expect to receive the death certificate in about 4 to 6 weeks.  The application process is the same as that prescribed for in-person requests. 


However, the application must be notarized, and the service fee must be presented in a check or money order directed to the State Department of Public Health.


The service fee is stated as a non-refundable $15 fee per copy. Online orders for Iowa's death records are made via the department of health's partnership with online vendors such as VitaChek. 


This platform allows eligible persons to find death records online after a three-five business days processing period. The processing fee for this platform's service is $15.50, along with a $20 copy fee.


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Third-Party Websites

The basic usage requirement for third-party websites is a running account and a paid subscription to the service/platform. 


Once these are sorted out, you can be allowed to use the search portal to find any death record of interest to you, if available. 


You only need to provide the name of the deceased person and their last known residence, which is usually the state where the death took place.


You should find the right result displayed among several others with similar names to the search subject (the deceased person). Only those records classified as confidential and closed to public viewing may not be accessible to people who use these third-party websites.

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