Writing Your Death Certificate – Gathering Information Now for Your Family

Consider giving the gift of information to your heirs.

Why? Texas requires that a death certificate be filed with the State within 10 days after your death, and it will be a hassle for your family to gather all of the information within such a tight timetable. The solution is for you to compile the information now and let your heirs know where to find it.

So what information should you include? The list is somewhat long, so we’ll just hit the high points.

Your full legal name, with no abbreviations. If you go by several different versions, then put each of them down. If you have a maiden name, include it. Do not include titles such as “doctor”, but if you have a religious title like “Sister Mary,” include that. Do not write down nicknames. If you had a court-ordered name change, then attach the final order.

Your spouse’s full legal name, including any maiden name. Include the place and date of your marriage, and whether it was ceremonial or common-law.

While you are in this frame of mind, go ahead and make a list of your previous spouses, the date of each marriage, the date of the ending of the marriage, and the reason that it ended (divorce, annulment, death). This is not needed for your death certificate, but will be important for the probate of your estate.

Your birth date and place of birth. Include the city, state or foreign country. If you have a copy of your birth certificate, attach it.

Your mother and father’s full names, and your mother’s maiden name.

Your full social security number. Write down the location of your social security card.

Your sex. Texas says this is determined by observation and not by self-identification.

Write down any military service, noting the branch, the serial number on your discharge papers or adjusted service certificate, and the name and address of your next of kin or next friend. Attach a copy of your discharge papers.

State if you were ever a peace officer in Texas. Note that Texas does not care if you were a peace officer in another state.

Your race and if you are of Spanish, Latino or Hispanic origin. Texas does not consider Spanish, Latino or Hispanic to be a race.

Your usual occupation for the majority of your working life, and the industry that it was in (farming, government, teaching).

Confess if you were ever a smoker. The actual question deals with whether smoking contributed to your death, but chances are pretty good that you will not know the answer to that question unless you are clairvoyant.

The highest number of years of regular schooling that you completed. Be kind to your heirs and give them the actual count.

While you’re at it, go ahead and write out your obituary. Your heirs will thank you.

Concerned about this amount of information? Your death certificate will only be used for certain purposes, and should never be filed in the public records.

Hammerle Finley Law Firm. Give us a call. We can help.

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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.

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