Although a physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse is responsible for filing the death certificate, the task is often delegated to the funeral director. Most of the information needed to complete the death certificate is obtained from the family of the deceased. However, it must be a physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse who completes and certifies the cause of death information. Once a death record is completed in the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS), it is registered and the death certificate is available to the town clerks for filing.
In addition to receiving copies of vital records from Vermont town clerks, the Health Department also receives copies of certificates of all Vermont resident births and deaths that occur in other states and in Canada. This allows the Health Department to do statistical analyses of vital events involving Vermont residents even if the birth or death occurred outside of the state.
Ordering a Copy of a Death Certificate
Upcoming Changes to Birth & Death Certificates in Vermont
When it goes into effect, Act 46 (2017) will enhance the safety and security of birth and death certificates, provide better protection against misuse of these legal documents, and reduce the potential for identity theft. The changes also streamline the statewide system for creating, storing and tracking birth and death certificates. The changes go into effect on July 1, 2018.
What You Need to Know
- Only family members, legal guardians, certain court-appointed parties or their legal representatives can apply for a certified copy of a birth or death certificate. For death certificates, a funeral home or crematorium may apply for a certified copy.
- Applicants must show valid identification when applying for a certified copy of a birth or death certificate.
- Certified copies of birth and death certificates can be ordered from any town in Vermont.
- Nothing will change when it comes to ordering copies of marriage, civil union, divorce or dissolution certificates, but there will be minor changes to what you need to do to obtain a marriage license.
- Complete and print the form below.
- Make check or money order payable to "Vermont Department of Health".
- The fee for certified copies is $10.00 per copy.
- Return the request form with your check or money order to the address on the form. Do NOT mail cash.
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Fetal Deaths and Abortions
Reports of fetal death and induced termination of pregnancy (abortion) are sent directly to the Health Department by the physician, hospital, or clinic that performs the procedure. By law, these reports are for statistical purposes only, are not public records, and are destroyed after five years.