The Probate Pro is often asked to find out whether a person has died.  This typically occurs when a personal injury lawsuit is commenced and the lawyer is having difficulty serving a defendant who is presumed to have died.  We can usually find anyone with our subscribed services.  There are also some great free services. The social security death index provides date of death and other relevant information. In addition, many of the Michigan funeral director post share links to Michigan obituaries.

Surprisingly, the use obituaries goes back to ancient Rome around 59 B.C.E. on papyrus newspapers. However, obituaries were not routinely used until the early 1800s. It was the proliferation of newspapers regularly publishing stories about the deaths of well-known public figures like politicians, wealthy businessmen, artists and other newsmakers that brought obituaries into regular use.

On the other hand, the use of death certificates did not become a standard model for confirming deaths in the United States until around 1910.

Today, most death certificates in Michigan can be obtained online through VitalChek. It is a private service to order official copies or replacements of government-issued birth, death, marriage and divorce records. VitalChek charges an additional fee to use their service and accepts all major credit cards, including American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa.

The Birth & Death Records Division of the Wayne County Clerk’s office maintains the birth records for cities and townships in Wayne County.

And, certified copies of death certificates for the City of Detroit can also be obtained by in person, or by mail at:

400 Monroe Street, Suite 605
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 202-7190

To obtain a death certificate you must have the following basic information:

  • Full Name at Death
  • City of Death
  • Date of Death

In Michigan, death certificates are public records and can be obtained by anyone. This is not the case in some states. To locate a death certificate issued in another state, you should contact the Vital Records Office for that state.

In this video, The Probate Pro explains death certificates and the probate process.

Questions about Obituaries or Death Certificates? Call The Probate Pro at (833)PROBATE.