Why Do We Need Death Records?
Death records are a form of vital record and are usually called death certificates, though there are other forms of death records than this. They are issued by a county official and detail the fact of an individual's death, the location of the death as well as the cause of death. There are numerous forms of death records issued by different authorities; each state has its own form that the state's officials follow.
Death records are necessary for many things, including insurance purposes, burial and cremation ceremonies and to prove a will in court. They also must be provided to credit card companies and other corporations in the event of a customer's death so that they can update their records and pursue other avenues of collection in the event of debt.
In the US, death records are publicly accessible. This means that anyone can access this information, regardless of their family status or status of their relationship with the deceased. In many states, the form that the publicly accessible death record takes is different from the one that is provided to next of kin or other family members. Usually it will not list the cause of death if it is due to infectious disease; rather it will list the cause of death as "natural." This is done in compliance with several laws relating to HIV and AIDS. Family members and state representatives, however, will be able to access the original death record, listing the exact manner of death.
The deceased's Social Security number is an important aspect of death records. In many states, there are laws and procedures in place to ensure that this number is submitted to the Social Security offices so that the records can be updated. This is done, primarily, to keep other people from gaining access to the deceased's social security number as well as to allow the agency to maintain its birth and death records files. In addition to the Social Security administration, death records are kept within the state where the death happened.
With the advent of the Internet, death records are now obtainable through electronic means. Numerous websites allow you to search by name, state or other search criteria. In addition, many US states have made their death records database available over the Internet for easier searching. Many times, you will not be able to obtain an actual copy of the death certificate in this manner, but the websites will provide information to get the records that you need