Death Certificates

Death Certificate Overview

Death certificates declare a person's location, time, and cause of death and some other personal information about the deceased. Certified death certificates are required to provide proof for legal purposes, such as claiming life insurance, accessing pension benefits, settling estates, or arranging a funeral among others. 

How to Obtain a Certified Death Certificate

To receive a certified death certificate, you must have proof of tangible interest in the subject. Non-certified death certificates are available for informational use only (for example, genealogical research) and are provided without tangible interest. Certificates may be obtained by mail or in person.

Available Information

The following information is available within the Polk County registrar's office:

  • Death Certificates from 1997 to present (approximately) for the entire state of Minnesota.
  • Death Records from 1875 to present (approximately) for the County of Polk.
  • To locate a death certificate not in Polk County but within Minnesota prior to 1997, visit the Minnesota Historical Society index.

Other State Deaths

If the person died outside of Minnesota, visit the National Center for Health Statistics for more information about ordering certificates from another state.


Fees are as follows:

  • Certified:
    • $13 one copy
    • $6 each additional copy of same certificate
  • Non-certified:
    • $13 per copy
    • $6 each additional copy of same certificate

Processing Time

Review the following for processing time information:

  • By mail, applications are usually processed the same day as they are received so it only takes the mailing time to receive the certificate.
  • In person, applications take only a few minutes to complete and process.

Walk-In Requests

Learn about the process for walk-in requests:

  • Certified: You will be required to complete and sign an application stating that you have tangible interest in the subject. You will need to provide identification, such as a driver's license, and then you will then receive the certified death certificate in minutes.
  • Non-certified: You will need to complete an application and will receive the non-certified death certificate in minutes. Additional time may be needed for certificates for multiple decedents or records dated from 1875 to 1935.

Request by Mail

Print and complete Death Certificate Application (PDF) and have your signature on the form notarized if requesting Certified copies

Enclose check or money order payable to: Polk County Recorder at:
Polk County Recorder
P.O. Box 397
Crookston, MN 56716