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How to Find a Death Record in Arkansas?

What Are Death Records in Arkansas?

An Arkansas death record is an official document containing information about a person's death that occurred in Arkansas. Records of deaths that have been registered in Arkansas for over 50 years are publicly available. However, death records less than 50 years old in Arkansas are not public records and can only be accessed by persons with the legal authority to do so. Death registration is vital, and it is proof of the date and time of a person's death. In Arkansas, statewide registration of death started in 1914 but gained full compliance in the 1940s. Arkansas death records are maintained and disseminated upon request by the Vital Records Section of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).

A person's death record reliefs such an individual of all official, social, and legal obligations. It facilitates the settlement of property inheritance and claiming of insurance by the relatives of a deceased person. An Arkansas death record contains a wealth of information such as:

  • The decedent's full name
  • Names of decedent's parents, children, spouse, and siblings
  • The decedent's place and date of birth
  • The decedent's social security number
  • The decedent's place of marriage (if married)
  • The decedent's occupation before the demise
  • The decedent's place and date of death
  • The decedent's gender

Death records in Arkansas reveal essential information about ancestors to future generations. They are usually the first point of call for persons who wish to get information about their ancestors.

How are Death Records Created in Arkansas?

The primary step in creating a person's death record in Arkansas is identifying the cause of death. It is the most vital medical information on a death record. Arkansas law mandates all certifiers to complete the cause of death section of the death certificate in two working days. However, a certifier is not required to complete and sign the death certificate at the time of death or the death place.

A person who pronounces an individual's death may lack enough information about the deceased's medical history to determine the causes of death. Such a pronouncer is not required to complete the death certificate. The new Arkansas death certificate allows one person to pronounce death so the deceased's remains can be removed from the death scene. It also allows the decedent's regular physician or someone who knows enough about their medical history to complete the cause of death section of the death certificate. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) provides a list of causes of deaths by sex.

In Arkansas, the funeral home may remove a deceased's remains from the death place once the death has been pronounced. However, they must obtain the approval of the deceased's physician or authorized official to do so. A death certificate is not needed to remove the remains from the death scene. The funeral home is responsible for entering the death certificate information into the Electronic Death Registration System. The information is first sent for medical data evaluation to approve causes of death as reported on the certificate. Once the attending physician or Coroner attests to the cause of death and other information, the data is electronically sent to the Vital Records Section of the ADH for registration.

How to Find Death Records Online in Arkansas

Currently, there is no known provision for anyone to look up death records online in Arkansas. However, interested persons can search Arkansas death records from 1935 to 1961 using the online resource provided and managed by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Users must provide the decedent's first name and last name. They must equally supply the date of death and then hit the search button. The online tool also offers an advanced search to include the decedent's county of death, date of birth, and state of a birth event for a streamlined search.

Persons who wish to order Arkansas death certificates online for deaths less than 50 years old must do so through the ADH Vital Records Online Service. Requesters must state their relationships to the person named on the death record and reasons for requesting such records. They must also provide accurate vital information about the decedents.

Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
  • The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.

While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government-sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.

How to Find Death Records for Free in Arkansas

The Vital Records Section of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) maintains death records and issues them at a cost to qualified individuals. Arkansas birth records are also available at the Local Public Health Units in the state. To request and obtain a death record in Arkansas, an applicant must complete the Death Certificate Application Form and provide valid government-issued photo identification. Apart from a photo, a valid government-issued photo identification should contain a current address, signature, and identification number. Besides online orders, interested persons can request death certificates in Arkansas via mail and in person. The acceptable forms of identifications by requesters include:

  • The United States issued driver license or identification card
  • Tribal identification card bearing the requester's signature
  • The United States military identification card bearing the requester's signature
  • Resident Alien Card (Form I-551)
  • Employment Authorization Card (Form I-766)
  • Employment Authorization Card (Form I-688A)
  • Temporary Resident Card (Form I-688)
  • The United States or Foreign issued Passport
  • Visa stamped in a passport that has the requester's signature
  • United States Territories Driver License or Identification Card

Requesters who cannot provide any of these photo identity documents can tender at least two secondary documents as proof of identity. Such secondary documents must both contain the applicants' signature and current address. The list of acceptable alternative documents include:

  • Employment identification card with photo, accompanied with paystub or W-2
  • School, university, college identification card with photo, accompanied with a report card or other proof of current school enrollment
  • Bank statement or utility bill with current address
  • Court documents with current address
  • Social Security/Medicare Card which must be signed
  • Car registration or title with current address
  • The United States selective service card
  • Voter’s registration card
  • Filed Federal tax form with current address and signatures
  • Pilot’s license
  • Department of Corrections identification card, accompanied by probation documents or discharge papers

Some government-issued photo documents may seem appropriate to request death records in Arkansas but are not acceptable. They include:

  • Alien registration receipt card form I-151(replaced by I-551)
  • USA B1/B2 Visa/BCC (Form DSP-150)
  • Non-resident border crosser card (Form I-586)
  • United States Military Identification Card that does not have the bearer’s signature
  • International driver’s license
  • Mexican voter registration card
  • Permanent resident card
  • Non-resident Alien Canadian border crosser card (Form I-185)
  • United States citizen identification card (Form I-197)
  • D.E.S. food stamp card
  • A tribal identification card that does not contain the bearer’s signature
  • Matricula Consular ID card
  • Non-resident Alien Mexican border crosser card (Form I-186)

How to Find Arkansas Death Records by Mail

To find an Arkansas death record by mail, a requester should do the following:

  • Complete the Death Certificate Application Form
  • Attach a legible copy of a valid photo ID or at least two alternative and acceptable identity documents to the application
  • Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and proof of payment of the applicable fee in the request and mail them to the Vital Records Section on the ADH or a Local Public Health Unit

How to Find Arkansas Death Records in Person

A person interested in finding and obtaining an Arkansas death record in person should submit a completed Death Certificate Application Form and a copy of their identity document at the Vital Records Section on the ADH. They may also visit a Local Public Health Unit with all required documents.

Where Can I Get Death Records in Arkansas?

Obtain a death record in Arkansas from the Vital Records Section of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) or the Local Public Health Units in person or via mail.

  • To request an Arkansas death record from the ADH, an applicant should visit or mail a completed application to the Vital Records Section at/to:

    Arkansas Department of Health
    Vital Records, Slot 44
    4815 West Markham Street
    Little Rock, AR 72205

    The building is situated across the street from War Memorial Stadium and processes walk-in requests Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m to 4:30 p.m. save state holidays when the office is closed.

  • To obtain an Arkansas death record at the county, a requester should visit a Local Public Health Unit. The ADH provides a directory of all local public health units in Arkansas.

Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Death Certificate in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, death records that have been registered for over 50 years are public records and can be disclosed to anyone. Death records that are not older than 50 years are considered to be confidential. Per Arkansas Statute 20-18-305, such death records are only accessible by specific persons who can prove that they have a right to obtain the records. They include:

  • The decedent's spouse
  • The decedent's child
  • The decedent's mother
  • The decedent's father, if named on the decedent's birth certificate
  • Funeral home
  • The decedent's grandchild
  • The decedent's maternal grandparents
  • Academic research groups

Eligible requesters must provide government-issued identification and supply the following information accurately when requesting Arkansas death records:

  • The decedent's full name
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
  • Statement of requesters' relationship to the deceased
  • The name of the funeral home
  • Statement of the purpose of the requests

How Much Does a Death Certificate Cost in Arkansas?

The cost of obtaining a copy of a death record in Arkansas is $10. Requesters pay $8 for each additional copy of a death record in the same order. Online applications via the ADH Vital Records Online Service attract a non-refundable $5 fee for standard processing and $1.85 as identity verification fee. The acceptable means for settling the fees for online requests is a credit or debit card.

If a requester's record of interest is not found, any amount paid besides these fees will be refunded to the applicant. Checks and money orders are payable to the Arkansas Department of Health. The ADH Vital Records Section accepts cash as a mode of payment for walk-in requests but discourages requesters from mailing cash to pay for mail-in applications. Temporary check payments are not permitted for all Arkansas death record request methods.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Death Certificate in Arkansas?

It takes between 10 to 14 days plus mail delivery time to process a mail-in Arkansas death record request at the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). The processing time an application submitted via the ADH Vital Records Online Service is 7 to 14 working days in addition to shipping time from the day it is approved. Requesters can opt for expedited shipping at additional costs if they want the requested death records delivered quickly. Most in-person requests submitted by 4:00 p.m. at the most are fulfilled on the same day, provided such records are on file. Walk-in applications submitted after 4:00 p.m. will not be processed the same day. In this instance, applicants can pick up such death records the next business day or request that they be mailed to them.

How Long to Keep Records After Death

After the demise of a person in Arkansas, some of the person's records are expected to be retained for a period of time. Most of these records are essential in managing the decedent's estates. The recommended number of years to keep specific records of a deceased person in Arkansas are:

  • Legal records, which include birth certificate, death certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, and legal will, are kept indefinitely.
  • Financial records are retained for a minimum of three years.
  • Medical records are kept for ten years.

How to Expunge Death Records in Arkansas

Expungement of a record is the permanent removal of some or whole part of such a document. It is a legal process. Arkansas does not make provision for the expungement of death records.

How to Seal Death Records in Arkansas

Sealing a record makes it confidential and keeps it away from public pry. There is currently no known provision for death records sealing in Arkansas.

How to Unseal Death Records in Arkansas

There are no unsealing death records in Arkansas since the state does not have a provision for such in the first place.