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Publication #DH215

Replacing Lost or Damaged Documents1

Michael T. Olexa and Travis Walker2

Introduction

This article deals with information on how to replace lost or damaged papers.

Birth Certificates

Florida Birth Certificates

  1. The process for applying for a birth certificate can be found at the Florida Department of Health (DOH) website. Access online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/birth_death.htm

  2. To order a birth certificate by mail, complete the Application for Florida Birth Record which can be found at the DOH website. Access online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/DH_726_12-10.pdf

  3. Florida birth certificates can only be issued to the registrant (if at least 18 years of age), the registrant's parents listed on the birth record, the registrant's legal guardian (must provide guardianship papers), the legal representative of the registrant or the registrant's parents/legal guardian, or other persons by court order (must provide recorded or certified copy of court order).

  4. All applications must be accompanied by a copy of a valid photo identification and a non-refundable processing fee. Checks and money orders should be made payable to the "Bureau of Vital Statistics." For current fees, telephone the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville at 1-904-359-6900 (this is not a toll-free number), or visit the DOH website. Access online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/birth_death.htm

  5. Send the information and non-refundable processing fee to the following address: Bureau of Vital Statistics, ATTN: Client Services, Post Office Box 210, Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042.

Out-of-State Birth Certificates

  1. If the birth did not occur in Florida, contact the vital statistics office in the state where the birth occurred. A list of state offices is at the National Center for Health Statistics website. Access online at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm

  2. For birth records of those born abroad, you must request a Replacement Form FS-240 from the Department of State in Washington, D.C. This information can be found at the CRBA website. Access online at http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_825.html

  3. All requests must be accompanied by the requester's valid identification and a non-refundable processing fee. Checks or money orders must be made payable to "Department of State." For current fee, visit the CRBA website. Access online at http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_825.html

  4. Send the information and non-refundable processing fee to the following address: Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Section, Room 510, 1111 Nineteenth Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

Citizenship and Naturalization Papers

You can obtain information about Form N-565, the form necessary to request citizenship and naturalization papers, by contacting your regional United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office, or by visiting the USCIS website. Access online at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/n-565.pdf

Form N-565 must be accompanied by a non-refundable fee and filed in person at a USCIS office in the United States or at a USCIS office abroad. If Form N-565 is filed abroad, it must be signed in front of a USCIS or consular official.

General information about citizenship and naturalization papers can be found at theUSCIS website. Access online at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

Death Certificates

Florida Death Certificates

  1. The process for applying for a death certificate can be found at the Florida Department of Health (DOH) website. Access online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/deaths.htm

  2. To order a death certificate by mail, complete the Application for Florida Death Certificate form which can found at the DOH website. Access online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/DH_727_09-08.pdf

  3. All signed letters of request and applications must meet the eligibility requirement. There are two eligibility rules in Florida. The first rule is that anyone may order a Florida Death Certificate "without cause of death" of the decedent. The second rule is that a Florida Death Certificate "with cause of death" is confidential by Florida law and may only be issued to the decedent's spouse, parent, child, grandchild, or sibling (if 18 years of age or older); or to any person who provides a "Will" that has been executed pursuant to Florida Statute 732.502, or an insurance policy, or other document that demonstrates the applicant's interest in the estate of the decedent; or to any person who provides documentation that he or she is acting on behalf of an eligible person; or to any person fifty years following the date of death that "cause of death" becomes public information.

  4. All letters of request and applications must be accompanied by a copy of a valid photo identification of the applicant and a non-refundable processing fee. Checks and money orders should be made payable to the "Bureau of Vital Statistics." For current fees, telephone the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville at 1-904-359-6900 (this is not a toll-free number), or visit the DOH website. Access online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/deaths.htm

  5. Send the information and non-refundable processing fee to the following address: Bureau of Vital Statistics, ATTN: Client Services, Post Office Box 210, Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042

Out-of-State Death Certicates

  1. If the death did not occur in Florida, contact the vital statistics office in the state where the death occurred. A list of state offices is at the National Center for Health Statistics website. Access online at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm

  2. For consular death records of U.S. citizens who died abroad, you must request a Replacement Form FS-240 from the Department of State in Washington, D.C. This information can be found at the CRBA website. Access online at http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_825.html

  3. All requests must be accompanied by the requester's valid identification and a non-refundable processing fee. Checks or money orders must be made payable to "Department of State." For current fee, visit the CRBA website. Access online at http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_825.html

  4. Send the information and non-refundable processing fee to the following address: Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Section, Room 510, 1111 Nineteenth Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

Driver's Licenses

In Florida, you must go to your local driver license office and apply for a duplicate driver license. For a list of offices, telephone 1-850-617-2000 (this is not a toll-free number), or visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website. Access online at http://www.flhsmv.gov/offices

You must present original documents that indicate your identity, social security number, and residential address. Proof of citizenship or legal presence may be required for renewal, duplicate, or replacement licenses, so please come prepared to present an identification document as proof of citizenship or legal presence. There is a fee for duplicate licenses.

Income Tax Returns

To request a copy of your federal tax return, contact the IRS and ask for IRS Form 4506. Request one for each year's return you are requesting. You can find this form at the IRS website. Access online at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506.pdf

To request federal tax forms for delivery via United States Postal Service, telephone, toll-free, 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

Insurance Policies

To replace lost or destroyed insurance policies, contact the agent or company providing the coverage. You may be required to complete a form, pay a fee for duplicate copies, or both. The policy number will expedite this request.

Marriage Certificates

Florida Marriage Certificates

  1. The process for applying for marriage certificates can be found at the Florida Department of Health (DOH) website. Access online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/marriage.htm

  2. To order a marriage certificate by mail, complete the Application for Florida Birth Record. Copies of the form can found at the DOH website. Access online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/DH_261_05-2011.pdf

  3. All applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee. Checks and money orders should be made payable to the "Bureau of Vital Statistics." For current fees, telephone the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville at 1-904-359-6900 (this is not a toll-free number), or visit the DOH website. Access online at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/planning_eval/vital_statistics/marriage.htm

  4. Send the application and non-refundable processing fee to the following address: Bureau of Vital Statistics, ATTN: Customer Services, Post Office Box 210, Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042

Out-of-State Marriage Certificates

Contact the vital statistics office in the state where the marriage occurred. For a list of offices, visit the National Center for Health Statistics website. Access online at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm

Military Discharge Papers

To obtain copies of military discharge papers, request Form 180 from any Veterans Administration Office, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Red Cross, Veterans Association, or military recruiter office. Form 180 is also available at the NARA website. Access online at http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf

Send the completed form to the following address: National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63132

If a veteran has filed for education or disability benefits, the Veterans Administration can furnish a copy of military discharge papers or a statement of service.

If discharge papers were recorded in the county clerk's office at the time of discharge, they can be replaced by contacting that office (Registrar of Deed) in the county where they were recorded.

Passports

Passports Lost in the United States

If your passport is lost or stolen in the United States, report the loss or theft immediately to the Department of State or to the nearest Passport Agency. The loss or theft should also be reported to local police.

Passports Lost Abroad

If your passport is lost or stolen while you are abroad, it should be reported immediately to the nearest United States embassy or consular office.

A passport is a traveler's principal means of identification abroad, and its loss is very serious. Whether lost or stolen in the United States or abroad, you can request a replacement passport from the following address: Department of State, Passport Correspondence Branch, 1111 Nineteenth St. NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20522-1705.

Property Deeds

You may be concerned if the deed to your home or other property is destroyed or lost in a disaster. The deed you receive is really just a certification to you that your transaction has been established as public record; the true declaration of your ownership is held at the county courthouse. You can obtain a certified copy of your deed at your county courthouse (there is a fee). Because you are requesting a public record, you will not need any identification, but you will need to know the property holder's name. For more information, visit the Florida website. Access online at https://www.myfloridacounty.com/official_records/index.html

If the deed is held by a bank or mortgage company, check to be sure that it is being held safely. If damage has occurred, work with the lending/mortgage organization to find out how the deed can be replaced.

Savings Bonds/Notes

To get your bond replaced, complete Form PD F 1048 from the United States Treasury Department, Bureau of Public Debt. To receive this form, either telephone, toll-free, 1-800-722-2678, or visit the US Treasury website. Access online at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/forms/sav1048.pdf

On Form PD F 1048, provide the approximate issue date, along with the complete names, addresses, and social security numbers that appeared on the bond, and the bond serial number. If you do not know the serial number or denomination, just write "unknown" in the space provided. If the bond owner is a minor, the form should be signed by both parents and should include the minor's age and social security number (the duplicate bond will show the original issue date). Mail the completed form to the following address: Department of Treasury, Bureau of the Public Debt, Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328.

Social Security Cards

For information about social security, visit your nearest Social Security Administration (SSA) office. To find your nearest office, telephone, toll-free, 1-800-772-1213, or visit the SSA website. Access online at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp

To file an application for a duplicate card, you will need documents demonstrating your identity and U.S. citizenship. You will also need a valid photo identification.

Vehicle Titles

In Florida, to replace a lost vehicle title, contact the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and request an Application for Duplicate or Lost in Transit/Reassignment for Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home, or Vessel Title Certificate. To request this form, telephone 1-850-617-2000 (this is not a toll-free number), or visit the FLHSMV website. Access online at http://www.flhsmv.gov/forms/duptitle.html

For information on fees, telephone 1-850-617-2000 (this is not a toll-free number), or visit the FLHSMV website. Access online at http://www.flhsmv.gov/DHSMVfees.htm

Wills

If your will is misplaced or destroyed, contact the attorney who prepared it. If your circumstances have changed, a new Will may be appropriate.

Source for This Publication

Footnotes

1.

This document is EDIS document DH215, formerly IFAS publication DH0505. Published June 1998, revised May 2003 and March 2012. It is part of The Disaster Handbook, a component of the Comprehensive Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Education Module. There are ten Disaster Handbook documents by Olexa and Walker: DH138, DH199, DH200, DH201, DH202, DH203, DH204, DH206, DH215, and DH219. For information about products and ordering, please visit http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu. All UF/IFAS Extension publications are available at the EDIS website http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Michael T. Olexa, professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics, and director, Center for Agricultural and Natural Resource Law, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, and Travis Walker, student, Levin College of Law, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Note: This publication is designed to provide accurate, current, and authoritative information on the subject. However, since the laws, regulations, administrative rulings, and court decisions on which it is based are subject to constant revision, portions of this publication could become outdated at any time. This publication is distributed with the understanding that the authors are not engaged in rendering legal advice or opinions, and the information contained herein should not be regarded, or relied upon, as a substitute for legal advice or opinion. For these reasons, the utilization of these materials by any person constitutes an agreement to hold harmless the authors, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the University of Florida for any liability claims, damages, or expenses that may be incurred by any person as a result of reference to or reliance on the information contained in this fact sheet.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.