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Tennessee Death Certificates

Tennessee death records are maintained by the Office of Vital Records. A copy of death certificate documentation is filed with the state by funeral directors, physicians, medical examiners and other similar professionals after a death occurs. You may also fill out an application for death certificate papers at the Office of Vital Records, as a death certificate copy must be obtained before a funeral can take place. Additionally, a copy of a Tennessee death certificate is needed for family members to transfer the decedent’s assets, acquire insurance payments and distribute inheritances. You may also find a death record in Tennessee for informational purposes. A death certificate search of public death records can be performed in several different ways. Below, find out how to get a death certificate copy for a loved one and how to search for death certificates in Tennessee.

How do I get a death certificate in Tennessee for a family member?

A certified Tennessee death record can only be obtained by certain applicants. To order a certified death certificate, applicants must be the parent, guardian, child or spouse of the deceased. If an immediate family member is unable to obtain the certificate for any reason, then a legal representative may obtain the certificate instead. Documentation, such as the claimant’s power of attorney status, must be shown when he or she applies.

A certified copy of death certificate documents is required to file a funeral permit in Tennessee or collect any benefits or inheritance from a decedent. Plain Tennessee death record copies without a raised, embossed seal are generally not accepted for any official purpose. For more information on how to obtain a death certificate for informational purposes only, see the section on public record deaths below.

Where to Apply for a Tennessee Death Certificate

A Tennessee death certificate application can be submitted in several different ways. First, you may order death certificates in person at the Office of Vital Records in Nashville or local county health offices near you. Death records may also be ordered in person from self-service kiosks instead. You will need to provide identification that verifies you are eligible to apply for a certificate. If your identification cannot be validated, then you must stop at the customer service counter instead. Ordering a TN death index in person can prove inconvenient though, as you may have long wait times and lines. You may also mail in an application, along with the other necessary materials to the Office of Vital Records. However, if you are wondering, “How long does it take to get a death certificate in Tennessee by mail?” then you are informed that the process may take several weeks to complete. While you cannot obtain a death certificate online through the Office of Vital Records, you can get a copy of death records online for the greatest convenience.

How to Complete a Tennessee Death Record Application

Getting TN death records requires that you provide the same information, regardless of whether you apply online, in person or through the mail. To request a death certificate, you must fill out an application, make a payment and provide your identification. Your application will include:

  • The deceased’s full name, sex and age at time of death.
  • The date and location of the death.
  • The name and address of the funeral home.
  • Your relationship to the decedent, as well as your purpose for applying.
  • Your name, signature and contact information.

If you are asking, “How long does it take to get a death certificate in Tennessee?” then you should know it depends on the death certificate application method you use. Some in-person requests can be completed while you wait, but in many cases, you will have to wait and have your records mailed to you once they are located.

How to Perform a Death Certificate Search in Tennessee

You may be wondering how to get death certificate documentation in Tennessee for someone whom you are not related to. It is possible to find death certificate information for virtually any death that occurred in Tennessee and was recorded. A state-wide death index is maintained by the Office of Vital Records and the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which go back as far as the year 1908. Tennessee death records filed before that year are still accessible, but are not maintained on a state level. Rather, you may need to search death certificates on a county or city level for earlier records. Death records from the cities of Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis are the most extensive historical archives available. More recent public death records can be found online as well.

While Tennessee death records can be located and accessed by anyone, you cannot get an official copy of a death certificate from public records. If you need a death certificate for any official purpose, such as claiming life insurance, distributing inheritance left in a will or dividing other assets after a loved one passes away, then make sure to get an official copy.


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