Death Certificate Questions
Death certificates in Texas may be pending if awaiting the final cause of death because of an autopsy or toxicology.
If you’re loved one was sent to the medical examiner’s office or an autopsy was ordered by a Justice of the Peace there is a very good chance that the certified copies you ordered from us will have a “pending” cause of death.
By law a funeral director must file and order certified copies of a death certificate within 10 days of the persons death. Often times the medical examination will require toxicology results to make a final determination of the cause of death. These results can take up to 90 days. Therefore, the medical examiner must certify the death as pending until he receives the toxicology results and will then amend the death certificate with a final cause of death.
Death certificates that have a “pending” cause of death are considered legal documents in Texas and can be used to probate an estate, secure Social Security Benefits and provide proof of death to financial institutions.
Pending deaths certificates are legal certified copies and can be used in exactly the same manner as non-pending death certificates. Texas Law does not differentiate between pending and non-pending death certificates in their ability to prove death. However, in some very rare circumstances an insurance policy that is “contestable” may require a medically amended death certificate with the final manner and cause of death before settling any claims.