Who can obtain a copy of a vital record?

In the State of Missouri, vital records are not open to the general public. Copies of vital records are provided to specifically defined individuals or entities. This helps protect identities, prevent fraud, and preserve the integrity of vital records. State law only allows a certified copy of a vital record to be issued to a person with a direct and tangible interest in the record.  The registrant, a member of his/her family, his/her guardian or one of their official representatives shall be considered to have a direct and tangible interest and may be issued a certified copy of a vital record such as a birth or death certificate.

  • Immediate family members are qualified to receive copies of birth certificates. Immediate family members shall include those family members and in-laws in the direct line of descent up to, but not including cousins. All family members are qualified to receive copies of death certificates.
  • Official representatives shall include an attorney, physician, funeral director, or other authorized agent acting in behalf of the registrant or his/her family. Funeral directors may act as an official representative to obtain copies of death records only.
  • Others may demonstrate a direct and tangible interest when information is needed for determination or protection of personal or property rights.  (An example of direct and tangible interest would be if a car title needed to be changed over to a person buying the car and the owner is deceased. The buyer would be qualified to receive a copy of the owner’s death certificate.)

An authorized agent acting in behalf of the registrant or his/her immediate family who is qualified to receive the vital record must demonstrate a link between themselves and the person listed in the vital record that is qualified to authorize release of the record. (An example would be an attorney that has documentation indicating they represent the immediate family member.)

For additional information regarding vital record access, visit: https://health.mo.gov/data/vitalrecords/obtain-vital-record.php

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