Polk County Medical Examiner

  • How is the death certificate obtained?

    Upon determination of cause and manner of death, the death certificate is filed with the Polk County Recorder, Vital Records Office by the funeral home or crematory handling the arrangements. The certificate is then forwarded to the Iowa State Vital Records Department. If the cause and manner cannot be determined with only an investigation, an autopsy and possibly additional studies may be required. In such cases, our office does NOT routinely issue a "pending" death certificate, as the amendment of a pending DC may actually add further delay after the case is completed. In addition, a "pending" DC is not usually sufficient for settling the affairs of the deceased, such as insurance issues. However, if the family does desire a "pending" DC, please contact our office. Usually the funeral home or crematory will provide copies, however copies of the death certificates can be obtained by the next of kin for a non-refundable fee by contacting:

    Polk County Recorder
    Vital Records Department
    111 Court Ave., Room 245
    Des Moines, IA 50309

  • Contact Us

    To report a death call (515) 286-3333
    1801 Hickman Rd
    Des Moines, Iowa 50314
    (515) 286-2102 (Days)
    (515) 286-3333 (Other times)
    Fax: (515) 286-2208