Death Certificates FAQs

Here are some common questions that you may have about ordering a death certificate.

Q: What Is a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate?

A death certificate is a valid government-issued document that records the time, place, and cause of a person’s death. For legal purposes, death certificates are used to confirm an individual’s death and are subsequently utilized to conclude the deceased’s estate. These death certificates are also used by the government to keep track of vital records regarding the country’s population.

Q: How Can I Use a Death Certificate?

A death certificate is most often used to establish legal liability. Examples include examining pension payments, settling estates, getting married (if a widow or widower needs proof of the death of their previous partner), securing life insurance benefits, and arranging for a burial. To begin managing financial and legal affairs on behalf of the deceased, immediate family members will require certified copies of the death certificate.

Q: Who Provides the Original Death Certificate?

A medical examiner, coroner, or licensed physician will generate the original death certificate. The initial provider will submit the certificate to the state health department’s vital records office, after verifying personal information with a relative. The submitted document will then be evaluated by a government representative, who will affix an official government seal to the documents.

Q: What Death Records Are Available?

Vital statistics can provide records for any deaths certified in Texas since 1903. For certificates of an out-of-state death, go to the National Center for Health Statistics’ website.

Q: How Do I File Certificate of Birth Resulting in Still Birth?

The first thing to note is that the parent(s) is not required to request a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. However, if you want one, you can contact the State Vital Statistics Section to obtain it. Parents may obtain a commemorative certificate by filling out an Application for Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth (Form VS-301) for fetal death records.

Q: How Do I Get a Copy of the Death Record If I am Not an Immediate Family Member?

You may submit a notarized, written statement from an immediate family member. The statement must authorize the Department of State Health Services (Vital Statistics Section) to provide you with a certified copy of your certificate.

In addition, you must submit a photocopy of the ID of the individual who authorized you. The notarized statement you have received must also include your full name and address, as well as your acceptable means of identification.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Get a Death Certificate?

It might take anything from two to four weeks for an official death certificate to be issued. While the initial report must be made within 72 hours of when the death occurred, there are several administrative processes involved in confirming details about the deceased.

In addition, there are a variety of variables that may influence the pace of this procedure, such as whether you want to file the document through the mail or online (paper vs. electronic filing). Another example of when it takes time to get a death certificate is when there is an ongoing investigation into the cause of death.

Q: Is There a Faster Service for Birth and Death Certificates?

Yes! TX-DPS Records can produce your order much more quickly when you order online for death or birth records. In contrast to waiting weeks for birth or death certificates, our current processing times are 2–3 days after the required authorization forms have been returned. We’ve also established a new expedited delivery method. For your convenience and to accelerate the procedure, we provide online notary services for an additional fee as well.

Q: Why should I use to order a death certificate.

A. We have been in business since 2004 and have death certificate specialist on hand to help you through the process of applying for a death certificate.  This not always the easiest process and only one small mistake can cause an applicant to get a rejection letter.  Our specialists review all applications to ensure all information is supplied correctly.  Additionally we review the death certificates received from the state to ensure they are correct based on the applications that are submitted.  If not, we work directly we the state vitals office to remedy the situation.

Q: What information is included on the Death Certificate?

A: Many important pieces of information are included on a death certificate including the following:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date and location of death
  • Age of the deceased
  • Gender, race, and marital status of the deceased
  • Hospital name or institution in which they died
  • Cause of death
  • Address of the deceased
  • Date and place of birth
  • Name of the deceased person’s parents
  • Birthplace of parents
  • Date and place of burial

Q: Who can request a certified copy of a death certificate?

A: 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 request a copy. All others who are not immediate family members to this person must provide legal documentation, such as a court order establishing guardianship.

Q: Who is considered an immediate family member?

A:   The following relationships by blood or marriage are considered to be immediate family members: self, child, parent, sister, brother, grandparent, spouse or individual with legal representation of person on record.

Q: What is the fee for a death certificate?

A: If you’re needing a death certificate expedited, place your order online for $55.00 plus shipping. When you order the record directly from the state by regular mail, you will pay only $20 but will have to wait for 5-8 weeks before receiving it.

Q: What is a valid form of identification?

A: To order your death certificate, you will need to provide one of the following: State-issued driver’s license, state/city/county ID card, student ID, government employment badge or card, prison ID, or a military ID (front and back).

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