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Washington Death Records: How to perform a Washington Death Records Search

Washington Death Records: How to perform a Washington Death Records Search
November 16, 2022

The State of Washington made it mandatory for counties to keep death records in 1891. 


By 1907, the registration of deaths in Washinton became a statewide affair. 


Consequently, the Vital Records Division of the Center for Health Statistics Office of the state’s Department of Health maintains records of deaths that occurred in the state from 1907 up to the present.


It is to this department that people interested in accessing or obtaining Washington death records must apply. 


Alternatively, interested parties may find death records at the health department of the county where the death occurred. 


The state of Washington does not offer any facility for online access to death records.


Death records in Washington contain detailed information about the decedent, including their full name and other identifying details, their location prior to their death, and the cause and manner of their death.

piles of files and folders

Finding Washington Death Records Online

Washington State Department of Health does not offer an online database of death records in the state. 


However, individual counties may provide online databases, although a requester typically needs to check with the county registrar where the death was registered to make sure that such a facility is on offer. 


Alternatively, requesters may find death records on online platforms provided by the Washington State Digital Archives.


Requesters who seek to avoid the hassles associated with making official Washington death records requests may obtain these records through unofficial, third-party websites. 


To conduct a search, those who prefer the simplicity of using third-party websites simply need to provide the record subject's name and most recent address. 


There are no regional restrictions on these third-party websites, so you can perform Washington death record searches from anywhere in the country.

Who Is Eligible to Access Washington Death Records?

As Washington is an open record state, any member of the public can access and obtain uncertified Washington death records. 


However, certain confidential information relating to the decedent will be redacted.


To obtain certified copies of Washington death records, interested individuals need to be qualified. 

a man sifting through files in a cabinet drawer


According to Washington state laws, the following set of people qualify to obtain death records in Washington:


* Members of the decedent’s immediate or extended family, including their spouse or child
* The decedent’s legal guardian or any other authorized representative of theirs
* Their next of kin, if there are no other living direct relative
* The funeral director
* Washinton courts or government agencies
* Title insurance agent
* Any individual that provides evidence that the death record is necessary to support a property claim
* Any individual with evidence that proves that the record is essential for a determination related to the death

How to Access Washington Death Records

There are multiple ways to find and obtain death records in the state of Washington. 


First and foremost, interested parties may obtain Washington death records at the local health department of the county where the death occurred and was registered.


The Center for Health Statistics Division of the Washington Department of Health is the official repository of death records in the state. 


Qualified individuals interested in accessing or obtaining certified death records in Washington may send their application in person, by mail, online, or by telephone to the DoH. 


Requesters typically need to provide valid IDs, applicable request fees, and documents proving their relationship with the decedent.


For mail-in requests, download the Death Certificate Order Form 422-184 or the Fetal Death Certificate Order Form 422-183, and fill them out to get a certified death certificate. 


If you want a non-certified copy, fill out the Death Informational Order Form and send it to the DOH with a check or money order, a valid form of identification, and the required eligibility papers. 


Mail-in requests cannot be paid for with cash. Send all documents to the following location if you choose to use the regular US mail service:


The Department of Health,
P.O. Box 9709,
Olympia, WA 98507


For in-person requests, fill out a death certificate order form, then download and print it. 


Next, attach a copy of your valid ID, applicable payment for the service, and a copy of your proof of eligibility documents, then submit your application in person at:


Washington State Department of Health,
Center for Health Statistics,
Town Center 1,
101 Israel Road SE,
Tumwater, WA 98501

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How Much Do Washington Death Records Cost?

In Washington, a certified or informative death certificate costs $25. A copy of the record is included in this fee, as is the processing fee. 


Payments are non-refundable regardless of whether records are found. There may be differences in prices between counties. Death records can be ordered directly from the county where the death occurred by contacting the local health department or the recorder's office.


As part of the Covid-19 pandemic safety precautions, in-person services have been suspended. 


However, certified checks and money orders are accepted for mail requests, and cash is accepted for in-person services. 


Payment is accepted by credit card or debit card for orders placed by phone or online, including fees for online processing. There is a $37 minimum order requirement.

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