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South Carolina Death Records |

South Carolina Death Records

South Carolina death records are crucial documents that can help surviving loved ones complete tasks related to the deceased’s affairs in the state. While some information about the deceased may be in public death records, an official document will provide much more personal information about him or her. Residents can get a copy of a death record here. To find a death in South Carolina, applicants will need to supply certain details to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) for a search and to return results. For more information on how to get a death certificate and what it is used for, review the sections provided below.

What is a South Carolina death index?

South Carolina death certificates are a vital record that you will need to settle your deceased loved one’s affairs. A copy of death certificate documentation contains the name of the deceased and his or her last known address. It also includes the decedent’s birth date and birth location. A death certificate search in SC will result in a document that contains the deceased’s Social Security Number, education level and parents’ names and birth places. When applicable, a death record contains the deceased’s marital status at the time of death and the surviving spouse’s name, and his or her veteran’s claim or discharge number. The death index also includes the date, time, location and cause of death, as well as a medical professional’s signature. Find death records here.

Why Request Death Certificate in South Carolina

Before asking, “How do I get a death certificate in South Carolina?” you should first ask why you need one. Reasons to order death certificate documentation include the following:

  • To settle estates, including finances, property, and asset distribution
  • To settle credit card debt or other loans
  • To claim stocks or bonds
  • To claim life insurance benefits
  • To obtain survivor benefits
  • To cancel subscriptions to services such as cable, cell phones and electricity
  • To gain access to bank accounts
  • To handle motor vehicle related matters, such as performing a transfer of a vehicle’s title and registration

While the most common reason to find death certificate files involves finalizing affairs, they are sometimes used for researching family history or genealogy. Additionally, applicants may find an SC death through the Social Security index for researching family histories. A death index may be the best option since there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met to order a death certificate. However, public death records become so after 50 years since the deceased’s passing. Therefore, anyone can complete an application for death certificate documentation of such records. To obtain a death certificate online, click here.

How to Obtain a Death Certificate in South Carolina

You may be wondering, “How long does it take to get a death certificate?” and the answer depends on the method chosen for making the request. The DHEC allows you to apply for death certificates by mail, in person, by phone or online. For each method of request, you must provide payment for a non-refundable search fee.

By Mail

When asking how to get death certificate documents by mail, know that you must fill out the appropriate application with the necessary information and send it with a valid form of identification. You may send a photocopy of a government-issued photo ID or school or employer ID for identification. An SC death record search sent by mail can take two to four weeks to process.

In Person

To request a death certificate in South Carolina in person, applicants must provide the same form as used for the mail-in method. Then, they must take the application, payment and a form of ID to the DHEC State Vital Records Office in Columbia. Some regional offices issue death certificates and offer correction services, but applicants must consult with their local office to find if such benefits are available. Processing a death certificate search in person can take between 30 and 45 minutes, but it requires applicants to visit the office during business days and hours, which may prove inconvenient.

By Phone

You can order death certificate documentation by phone with the DHEC by calling the toll-free number. Additional shipping fees will apply if you use this method. When you request death certificate files over the phone, it takes five to seven business days to process.


Submitting a request for a death certificate online is the easiest and most convenient method available in SC. Applications for death certificates submitted online take minutes to complete and can be done from the comfort of your own home. Get a copy of death records here.

Application for a South Carolina Death Certificate Requirements

South Carolina death records are only available to select individuals. For eligibility to receive a certified copy of death certificate, applicants must be one of the following:

  • An immediate member of the decedent’s family
  • A legal representative of one of the deceased family members
  • An applicant with a direct or tangible interest, such as for purposes of determining a personal or property right

Other applicants may not be eligible for a copy of a death certificate, but they may obtain a statement of death.

Information Needed to Obtain a South Carolina Death Certificate

To submit an application for death certificate copies in South Carolina, you must provide the deceased’s full name, the county where he or she was pronounced dead and your relationship to the deceased. Make sure to include your full name, current mailing address and phone number. To find death certificate forms, the DHEC also needs the full date of death, including the month, day and year. You can get a copy of death records here.

Types of South Carolina Death Records

To find a death in South Carolina, you must first know which type of record you need. SC death records can come in the form of a long certificate or a short certificate. The long death certificate contains all the information pertaining the death, including the cause of death. The short-form death record contains the same informationexcept for a cause of death. However, it does include the manner of death. A death statement is also available and contains basic information, such as the deceased’s name, county and date of death.