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Certified Copies of Death Certificate Information


Certified copies of death certificate are issued by the governmental office in charge of vital statistics in the county in which a death occurs. They possess a seal and/or are printed on special bonded paper. Photocopies are usually not acceptable for legal purposes, but may be used for personal reference. 


A quantity is not automatic. It will depend on the number of assets and other factors for each individual. It is recommended that one secure a few more than originally calculated as unanticipated circumstances for need can often arise.


Listed below are organizations or circumstances that will require a certified copy of death certificate:

  • Insurance Policies: Most insurance companies require a certified copy of death certificate. It is best to consult with your insurance agent or company on any additional requirements. If the decedent is listed as a beneficiary on another person’s life insurance policy, it is best to change the beneficiary to avoid future complications.
  • Banks/Safety Deposit Boxes: It is best to consult with your banker, however, it is recommended that you secure one certified copy for each bank that accounts and/or safety deposit boxes are held with.
  • Stocks or Bonds: It is best to consult with your broker for assistance.
  • Real Estate Titles/Transactions: You may want to consult with your attorney or realtor for assistance.
  • Vehicle Title Transactions: It is best to consult with the Illinois Secretary of State, Motorist Services. You can find more detailed information at
  • Boat/Snowmobile Title Transactions: It is best to consult with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources or
  • Employer/Pension Benefits: It is best to contact employer(s) of the decedent to ascertain what benefits are available if any, and what is required to help process pensions, insurance and any other benefits.
  • Probating of a will: It is recommended to consult with your attorney.
  • Credit Cards / Loans: It is best to notify credit card companies and lending institutions directly. It is also recommended to inquire about the possibility of credit life insurance.
  • Utilities / Cellular phone contracts: Most utilities companies will not require a certified copy of death certificate; however, a cellular phone company may require it in order to terminate a contract.
  • Attorney / Trust Officer: It is wise to meet with your attorney and/or trust officer for guidance as they may be able to best determine the number of certified copies needed for legal matters.


For your convenience, John G. Ligda, Ltd. Funeral Service will secure the quantity of death certificates on your behalf. The cost will depend on the jurisdiction of vital statistics where a death occurred. In most of Cook County, the charge is $ 17.00 for the first copy and $ 6.00 for each one thereafter. The initial charge for the first copy is charged each time they are requested. For future needs, John G. Ligda, Ltd. Funeral Service is happy to order additional copies with payment in advance, or, you can order directly at:


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