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How to Find Out if Someone Has Died

Updated March 23, 2017

If you haven't heard from someone in awhile, you may be wondering whether the person is still alive. Perhaps you heard he passed away, but you aren't completely sure. Maybe you just have a feeling. Whatever the reason--thanks to the Internet--it is now relatively easy to find out if someone has died.

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  1. Gather all of the information you have about the person in question. Obviously, the more information you have, the easier your search will be. At a minimum, you will at least need the person's name.

  2. Search the Social Security Death Index (see Resources). This free search will inform you if there is a death certificate on file for the individual.

  3. Research public records and obituaries to learn more information. For best results, you will need to know where the person resided to access the appropriate websites.

  4. Check a nationwide database if your previous searches do not produce any information. Typically, these sites will provide a limited amount of information at no cost to you. For more detailed information, however, you will be required to pay a fee (usually no more than £32, as of 2010).

  5. Contact a private detective if you are unable to find any information about the individual. If you have a very limited amount of information, then this may be your only option.

  6. Warning

    Be prepared to hear that your loved one is, in fact, deceased. This could be more of an emotional blow than you expect.

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About the Author

Jessica Saras is a professional editor and copywriter. After earning an English degree from Reinhardt College, Saras completed the summer writing program at Sarah Lawrence College. A natural-born writer, she has more than six years of experience in web content development. In addition to being a full-time copywriter, she writes articles for Demand Studios, wiseGEEK.com, Examiner.com, and Suite101.com.

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