Home » Texas Probate Guide » Preliminary Probate Matters » The Texas Death Certificate
After dealing with the body or remains, one can obtain a death certificate. The death certificate is generally needed to start the probate process.
A death certificate must be filed with the state within 10 days of death. This time frame is not always met.
When there are questions about the cause of death or the cause is uncertain, the medical examiner may have to conduct an autopsy or investigation before the death certificate can be issued.
The death certificate will include the following information:
This information is used in the probate process.
The death certificate serves as a record that the person died. Before probate is initiated, it may be used by the survivors to access accounts, get life insurance proceeds, or make arrangements for the burial or cremation.
The death certificate will typically be provided to the decedent’s bank and financial institutions, insurance companies, the funeral home, and the person who will administer the probate estate.
Texas death certificates can be obtained through the county clerk’s office in the county of the deceased’s residence or the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. If the certificate is requested directly from the state, it can take up to 4-6 weeks to arrive.
For deaths within the past 25 years, only the immediate family members to the person whose name is on the death certificate are eligible to get a copy. Immediate family members include, by blood or marriage, the child, parent, sister, brother, grandparent, and spouse.
Those who are not immediate family members can obtain a copy of the death certificate with a written, notarized statement signed by an immediate family member. Others who are not immediate family members have to provide legal documentation to show the need for the record, such as a court order establishing guardianship.
To order a death certificate, the person making the request has to provide one of the following: a state-issued driver’s license or a state/city/county ID card, student ID, government employment badge or card, prison ID, or military ID.
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