You Are Entitled to a Pending Death Certificate Within 10 Days of Death.

A final death certificate may take ninety days to obtain if the medical examiner is investigating the death of your friend or relative. However, under Section 193.003 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, the Funeral Director must give you a death certificate with the cause and manner of death marked "pending." This is called a "pending death certificate." It is an "official" death certificate.

Many of the things you need to do after a death can be done with a pending death certificate.

  • You can open probate in Travis County with a pending death certificate.
  • You can apply for the Social Security death benefit with a pending death certificate.
  • Major banks will accept a pending death certificate if you have the necessary other paperwork to access funds.
  • Insurance companies may accept pending death certificates to pay out proceeds to beneficiaries.

Ask your benefits provider if they will accept a pending death certificate. And be sure to get one from your funeral director; it may save you time and money.

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J. Keith Pinckard, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Medical Examiner

1213 Sabine Street
Austin, TX 78701 (Map)
Phone: (512) 854-9599
Fax: (512) 854-9044