Well known banks and brokerage firms often only require a scan of the certified death certificate uploaded by secure message on their website. I believe this is referred to as an "informational copy." How is this reconciled with the typical warning at the top of the certificate that "it is illegal to duplicate this document by photostat or photograph"?

  • I think that this question is a duplicate that has been answered before at this site, but haven't found the previous Q&A yet.
    – ohwilleke
    May 21 at 1:00
  • I hadn't found anything, hence my post. Do you happen to remember the gist of the answers? May 21 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


Different states have different rules about what kinds of vital record certificates they issue and who they issue them to. For example, California will only issue an "authorized copy" to certain people listed in the law who have an appropriate connection to the person named in the certificate. But California will issue an "informational copy" to anyone.

As for the prohibition about making copies, I have a death certificate from Pennsylvania that has a prohibition against making copies on the face of the certificate. I have not seen such a prohibition on vital records from other states.

  • Scanned copies are also requested from PA residents. May 20 at 18:29

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