Can I open a probate estate without a death certificate?

Generally, you have to wait until you obtain a death certificate until you can open a probate estate. However, there are certain circumstances where the death certificate is delayed due to an autopsy, criminal investigation or because there is not sufficient information known about the deceased person to complete a death certificate. In these circumstances, the Court may allow you to present alternative proof of death such as an obituary, news report or coroner’s letter. Once you have obtained a copy of the death certificate you can then file that document after the estate is open.