Birth and Death Legislation

New Legislation in Effect for Obtaining Birth and Death Certificates

"The enactment of new legislation SB 247 (Chap. 914, Stats. 2002, pursuant to CA Health and Safety Code 103526) has changed the process and identifies who specifically can obtain certified copies of birth and death certificates. The new legislation will go into effect July 1, 2003."

As a result of the occurrence of identity theft on the rise, the California legislature identified the release of birth and death records as a vulnerable point in this regard. The new legislation helps protect birth and death records from misuse by allowing only specific authorized individuals to receive a certified copy of a birth or death record. "As the custodian of vital records, the Recorder has a responsibility to safeguard the records from misuse on behalf of its citizens."

Under the new legislation, individuals requesting in-person, are permitted to receive an authorized copy, after having first submitted a statement sworn under penalty of perjury that the requester is an authorized person. Requests submitted by mail must also be accompanied by a notarized statement attesting to the identity of the requestor.

Authorized persons include:

  1. The registrant or a parent or legal guardian of the registrant
  2. A party entitled to receive the record as a result of a court order, or an attorney or a licensed adoption agency seeking the birth record in order to comply with the requirements of Section 3140 or 7603 of the Family Code
  3. A member of a law enforcement agency or a representative of another governmental agency, as provided by law, who is conducting official business
  4. A child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner of the registrant
  5. An attorney representing the registrant or the registrant's estate, or any person or agency empowered by statute or appointed by a court to act on behalf of the registrant or the registrant estate
  6. Any funeral director that orders certified copies of a death certificate on behalf of any individual specified in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code Individuals not permitted to receive authorized copies may receive an INFORMATIONAL CERTIFIED COPY with the words "INFORMATIONAL, NOT A VALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY" imprinted across the face of the copy.