Reference Information

The Minnesota Vital Statistics Act defines requirements related to death registration in Minnesota. The following is a description of requirements by selected topic, including links to the relevant statutes and rules:

Amending Cause of Death Information
Death Registration Requirements
Fees for Services Related to Death Records
Place and Time of Death
Providing Cause of Death Information
Standardized Format for Death Certificates

Amending Cause of Death Information
Minnesota Rules, part 4601.2100, subpart 9 require that a request to amend cause of death information be made to the state registrar and include a notarized statement of approval from:

  • The physician who originally provided the cause of death information OR
  • A coroner or medical examiner of the county where the death occurred.

The requirement for the notarized statement is waived if the request to amend cause of death information is received directly from the physician who originally provided the cause of death information or from a coroner or medical examiner of the county where the death occurred.

Death Registration Requirements
For each death which occurs in the state, Minnesota Statutes, section 144.221, subpart 1, requires a death record to be filed within five days after death and prior to final disposition.

Minnesota Rules, part 4601.1500, require the mortician, funeral director, or other person in charge of disposition of the body to file the fact of death and demographic information before interment or other disposition of the body.

Minnesota Rules, part 4601.1600, require the person in charge of disposition of the body to collect fact of death and demographic information and contact the physician to request the cause of death information.

Fees for Services Related to Death Records
Minnesota Statutes, section 144.226,
set fees for death certificates ($13), delayed death registrations ($40), and amendments to death records ($40).

Fees are waived for amendments to the cause of death if requested by the coroner, medical examiner, or physician who originally provided the cause of death.

Place and Time of Death
Minnesota Rules, part 4601.1700 defines the place and time of death to be recorded on the death record. The place where death is pronounced is considered the place where death occurred. If the place of death is unknown but the body is found in Minnesota, the place where the body is found is considered the place of death.

If the date of death is unknown, the date the body is found is considered the date of death. When a death occurs in a moving conveyance and the body is first removed in Minnesota, documentation of death must be filed in Minnesota and the place of death is considered the place where the body is first removed from the conveyance.

Providing Cause of Death Information
Cause of death information for each death that occurs in Minnesota may be provided only by a physician, coroner, or medical examiner. A physician who provides the cause of death must be a physician present at the time of death, a physician or associate of a physician who provided medical treatment for the deceased before death, or a physician who has direct knowledge of the circumstances and cause of death and has access to the medical record of the deceased.

Minnesota Rules, part 4601.0100, subpart 19 defines physician as a person with a valid license in good standing under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 147, to practice medicine as defined under Minnesota Statutes, section 147.081, subdivision 3, or a person currently licensed in good standing to practice medicine under the laws of the person's resident state or the state where the person is actively practicing medicine.

Minnesota Statutes, section 383B.225 and chapter 390, define requirements for election or appointment of coroners and medical examiners and their responsibilities. Specifically, Minnesota Statutes, sections 383B.225 and 390.23, require a coroner or medical examiner in the county where the death occurred to provide the cause of death for any death when the manner of death is not natural.

For more information about providing cause of death including tutorials and handbooks, see the National Center for Health Statistics' Writing Cause of Death Statements.

Standardized Format for Death Certificates
Minnesota Statutes, section 144.225, subdivision 8, requires a standardized format for death certificates.

Minnesota Rules, parts 4601.2500 and 4601.2550, establish the format and data items that must appear on a "fact of death certificate" and a "fact and cause of death certificate."

Certified Death Certificate - Fact of Death:

A fact of death certificate shows information required by Minnesota Rules, part 4601.2550, subpart 1, to record the time and place a death occurs and to identify the decedent.

A fact of death certificate may be purchased immediately upon filing. The family or personal representative of the decedent may use the fact of death certificate to close bank accounts, cash in stocks or bonds, notify credit card companies, initiate property settlements, and begin other activities related to settling an estate.

Certified Death Certificate - Fact and Cause of Death:
In addition to the information collected for the fact of death, a fact and cause of death certificate shows cause of death information required by Minnesota Rules, part 4601.2550, subpart 2.

A fact and cause of death certificate may not be available immediately. The physician, coroner, or medical examiner may require additional time to determine the cause of death. A fact and cause of death certificate may be required by life insurance companies.