Unlike birth records, the privacy laws surrounding Florida death records are more lax. Anyone over the age of 18 can access any death record so long as you don't require the cause of death. If you do want a complete record that includes this information, you will have more restrictions when requesting records more recent than 50 years old. In that case, you will have to be a close relative to the deceased. That would include parent, child, grandchild, spouse or sibling.
If you are after a recent record with cause of death included, you will need to provide a copy of photo identification proving that you are eligible to make the request. Otherwise, you are not required to provide ID.
You should be able to access Florida death records going back to at least 1917 without any difficulty, and there are partial records farther back to 1877 in some areas. Records from all time periods in Florida are accessible through the Vital Records office, so you shouldn't need to contact individual counties or towns.
All you need to do is fill out the application that is available at the Department of Health website (http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/DH_727_09-08.pdf) with basic information about the person you are searching about. If you don't know the exact date of death, they will do a search of a range of years (at an added cost of $2 per year). Also include the deceased's name, place of death, name of surviving spouse if you know it.
Ordering a Florida death record is pretty inexpensive compared to other states. The fee is only $5 USD, though it is non-refundable even if no record is found. You will have to pay the fee with a check or money order made out to "Vital Statistics".
You can make your application by mail or in person if you are in the Jacksonville area. Only the main office can handle record requests. The office is at the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Customer Services, PO Box 210, Jacksonville FL, 32231-0042 USA. If you are going to submit your request in person, their street address is 1217 Pearl Street.
If you opt for the in-person request, its usually not done while you wait. Dropping off your forms in the morning will often mean you can pick up at the end of the day otherwise you may have to return the next day for your records. When sending in by mail, they typically take up to 2 weeks to send your file back. If you need it faster and can't come to Jacksonville, you can add an extra $10 for a rush delivery.
The information available on a Florida death record will vary by county. You usually find the name, age, date of death and place of death. Cause of death is only included in older records, as mentioned above. Some registrations may also include parent's names, place of burial and occupation of the deceased.
In order to obtain a Florida death certificate, you will need to:
Complete the Florida Death Certificate application with your personal information and the information about the person named on the certificate.
Select a delivery and payment method. Additional charges may be incurred for rushed orders.
Return the completed application and payment to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Only checks and money orders are accepted through the mail.
If you need additional assistance accessing Florida death records, you can do so by contacting the Bureau at:
Florida Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Attn: Customer Services
P.O. Box 210
Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042
(904) 359-6900 ext. 9000
How To Obtain Florida Death Records
Florida death records are available from the Florida Department of Health. After 50 years has passed since the death, these records are considered public information and can be accessed by the general public. Prior to the 50 year mark, however, Florida death records are considered confidential and can only be accessed by certain persons.
How to Retrieve Death Records
Mail, phone, fax, and in person requests can be made to access Florida death records through the Bureau of Vital Statistics. A valid, current photo ID must accompany orders sent in the mail.
Restrictions on Obtaining Death Records
After the 50 year mark, Florida death records are considered public information and can be accessed by any adult. Prior to the 50 year mark, Florida death records are considered confidential and can only be accessed by the adult spouse, parent, child, or sibling and by legal representatives of the family.