A Definitive Guide on How to Get a Death Certificate in Tennessee

If someone close to you has recently passed away and you need to obtain a death certificate, you may be wondering how to go about doing that during the funeral service. The process can seem daunting, but with this definitive guide, you will have all the information you need to get started. In this guide, we will cover everything from what is required to get a death certificate in Tennessee to the fees involved. We will also provide some tips on how to make the process as smooth as possible.

What is a death certificate?

A death certificate is an official document that lists the full name, date of birth, date of death, and place of death of a person. Death certificates are issued by the government and are used for a variety of purposes, such as settling estates and claiming life insurance benefits.

Who prepares a death certificate?

The death certificate will be prepared and filed by the funeral home, cremation organization, or other entity in the custody of the deceased individual's remains. Gathering personal information from family members and securing the signature of a doctor, medical examiner, or coroner are all part of the certificate preparation process. Depending on state law, the process must be finished within three to ten days.

Easy Steps in Getting a Death Certificate in Tennessee

Obtaining a death certificate in Tennessee is a simple process, whether you need to submit a notification of death letter to the credit bureaus or liquidate a bank account. Using the methods below, you can make a request in person at the Tennessee Vital Records Office, by mail, or online.

Step #1. Gather your information

For starters, you need to provide your basic information as well as the deceased such as name, address, and contact information. You also need to provide your relationship to the deceased along with a copy of a valid ID.

Furthermore, you need to provide the age at death, place of death, time of death, and the name of the funeral home that handled the deceased.

Step #2. Select your method

You can submit your death certificate request in person, by mail, or online. First, If you choose to go in person, you will need to visit the Tennessee Vital Records office in Nashville. You can find more information on their website including hours of operation and what documents you will  need to bring with you.

Second, If you choose to mail in your request, you will need to download and complete the death certificate application form. You can find this on the website of the Tennessee Vital Records office. Be sure to include a copy of your ID and payment for the fee.

Finally, if you choose to submit your death certificate request online, this can only be done through VitalChek, a third-party service. This is the service used by all states that provide online requests, and it is Tennessee's only third-party record tool.

Step #3. Include cause of death

In Tennessee, you have the option of including or omitting the cause of death on your official death certificate. The cause of death is typically only required for insurance or benefit purposes, although it may be valuable for your records as well. There's usually no need to include this personal information if you're trying to notify the IRS of death or update bank account details. If you're unsure, ask the individual requestors what information should be included on the death certificate.

Step #4. Provide supporting documents

When you request a death certificate, you'll need to provide some supporting documentation. The specific documents required vary by state, but they may include a copy of the death certificate itself, an ID, and proof of death.

Step #5. Select the number of copies you need

When you request a death certificate, you'll also need to specify how many copies you need. Most states charge a small fee for each additional copy of the death certificate after the first copy. The cost per copy in Tennessee is $15, this fee is non-refundable. It also cannot be refunded if your record cannot be found or is canceled. 

Furthermore, there is an extra processing cost if you order online with VitalChek. This is a one-time cost of $11 for each order. This money is non-refundable once again. You can pay with a credit card if you order online. Please make checks or money orders payable to Tennessee Vital Records if ordering by mail or in person.

Step #6. Submission

Once you have gathered all of the required information, it is time to submit your death certificate application. Vitachek will give you confirmation if you order online. To order by mail, you can send your completed application to:

Tennessee Vital Records

1st Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower

710 James Robertson Parkway

Nashville, TN 37243

It usually takes 6 weeks to process when ordering by mail or online. If you go to the office in person, some requests can be completed the same day.

Who can order copies of the death certificate?

The death certificate of a person who is deceased can be order by:

  • The spouse or parent of the deceased.
  • Adult children of the deceased.
  • Siblings of the deceased.
  • Guardian of the estate

What if I'm not from Tennessee? If you are not a resident of Tennessee, you will need to contact the vital records office in the state where the death occurred.

Are Tennessee death certificates public record?

Tennessee is not an open record state, which means that vital data such as birth, death, and marriage certificates are not available to the general public. These materials are difficult to find online or in person.

At Madison Funeral Home, we would be happy to assist you in obtaining a death certificate for your loved one. We have been providing death certificates and other funeral services to the residents of Madison, TN for over 60 years. Give us a call today at (615) 868-9020.