There are no restrictions on accessing Washington death records, so you can get a copy of anyone's death certificate regardless of who they are and how you are connected to them.
Most of the state's records are held by the Department of Health, but it can take 2 months for them to be submitted to the state. So if you are searching for a very recent death certificate, you will need to contact the local health department (http://www.doh.wa.gov/LHJMap/LHJMap.htm) to make your request. After about 2 months, all Washington death records should be accessible from the state office.
You will be able to look back until July of 1907. Earlier records are moved to the Washington State Archives. More on contacting them below. You may also find some earlier death records at the individual health offices.
For making a records request from the Department of Health, you can either visit their office in Tumwater, or send in your form by mail. The office service is usually same-day and mailing it in will take closer to 3 or 4 weeks before your get your requested records. They have separate forms for each type of request as well.
When going in person, you can visit the office Monday to Friday during standard business hours. They are located at the Center for Health Statistics, Department of Health, 101 Israel Road SE in Tumwater. Their website (http://www.doh.wa.gov/EHSPHL/CHS/422-046.pdf) has the right form that you can print out.
The mailing address for your application is the Center for Health Statistics, Department of Health, PO Box 9709, Olympia WA, 98507-9709 USA. The forms for a mailed-in request are also online (http://www.doh.wa.gov/EHSPHL/CHS/422-044.pdf) for easy printing out.
The cost to get a Washington death record is $20 USD, and you can only pay in cash if you are at the counter. Otherwise, the payment must be either a check or money order made out to the Department of Health. If your records aren't located, they don't issue any refunds so make sure you have provided accurate information. Just take care to fill out the correct fields. The form is used for birth and marriage record requests as well.
You'll need to supply the same information on either application form, including the deceased's full name, place and date of death, date of birth and spouses name (if applicable). Your own contact information also has to be filled in.
As mentioned, you can do further research at the Washington State Archives when looking for Washington death records that pre-date 1907. The Washington Digital Archives page (http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/default.aspx) is the best place to start as you can do a complete online search through their collection of death and cemetery records to find anyone who is deceased. For archived records not part of the digital collection, you may have to visit the library in person. They are located in the Legislative Building in Olympia.
To order a Washington death certificate by mail from the Center for Health Statistics, you will need to do the following:
Print and complete a Washington Death Certificate form.
If you are unable to print the form, copies are also available from your local health department.
Return your request with a check or money order covering the $20 fee to the address below.
For more information on how to access Washington death records, you can contact:
Washington Department of Health
Center for Health Statistics
Department of Health
P.O. Box 9709
Olympia, WA 98507-9709
Requesting Washington Death Certificates
If you need a Washington death record for a loved one, then you will need to contact one of three departments. For deaths that have occurred in the current or previous month, you can contact the local health department in the county where the death occurred. If the death occurred more than two months ago but after 1907, then you can contact the Center for Health Statistics. However, if you are looking for genealogical information for deaths occurring prior to 1907, you will need to contact the Washington State Archives.
Ordering A Record Through The Center For Health Statistics
Most Washington death records will be ordered through the Center for Health Statistics. The Center suggests ordering your record by mail, but you can also place a request in person, by phone, and online.
To place an order for Washington death records, you will need to complete an application, sign it, and return it with the appropriate payment. Failure to complete the application fully or include the proper payment could delay the processing of your request.