When a death is presumed to have occurred within the state, but the body cannot be located, a death certificate can be prepared upon receipt of a court order.  The court order must instruct the Bureau of Vital Records to establish a certificate of death that includes the information below.  The list below does not include all items on the death certificate. 19 CSR 10-10.050 lists the contents of Missouri’s death certificate and the court order may include items listed if it chooses to do so (such as decedent’s education, occupation and industry, etc.)

The court order should include:

  • Decedent’s legal name (first, middle, last and suffix, if any);
  • Decedent’s name prior to first marriage, if applicable;
  • Date of death as determined from evidence presented;
  • City, county and place of death as determined from the evidence presented;
  • Decedent’s date of live birth, city and state or country of live birth, race(s), ethnicity, sex, social security number, and parent(s) name(s);
  • Decedent’s address, including street address, city, county, state and zip code at time of death;
  • Name, prior to first marriage, of surviving spouse (if any); and 
  • The information necessary to complete the medical certification, including the cause and manner of death.

If the death occurred from an injury, information on how and when the injury occurred, as determined from the evidence presented.  If such information is unknown, the order shall indicate such.

Upon receipt of a certified court order, the Bureau of Vital Records will prepare and register the death based on the information in the court order.  The death certificate will show the date of the court order and the name of the court issuing the order.  The record will be marked “Presumptive” and the court order will be placed in a sealed file.