How can a court acquire a Death Certificate for a defendant?

Per RCW 70.58.107 - No fee can be charged for a certified copy of a death certificate for any offender when requested by by any court in the state of Washington for purposes of extinguishing the offender's legal financial obligation. 

In order for the court to obtain a free certificate they must submit a request to the Center for Health Statistics (Vital Records Customer Service) at

Per the Department of Health, the request must:

  • be on court letterhead;
  • state that the copy is needed for court purposes;
  • state that the request is being submitted based on RCW 70.58.107;
  • list the name and date of death for the death certificate being requested;

    Note: If an exact date of death is not known, provide up to a ten-year period of time to search.
  • list the location of the death, if known.
  • provide court address for certificates to be mailed from DOH;
  • and must include a photocopy of the court ID showing the full first and last name of the requestor.

  • Note: Faxed requests are currently accepted at (360)753-4135, but the process may change in the near future so emailing the request is the best option. 

The requests will be processed, and the certified copy will be mailed to the court, at no cost to the court. 

For questions about this process, please contact the Department of Health's Vital Records Customer Services at or by phone at (360) 236-4300.

RN id: 2087