200-A W. 3rd St.
Odessa, TX 79761
Phone: (432) 332.4592
Fax: (432) 332.4599
Dr. Weldon F. Butler
Chief Medical Examiner
Pending Death Certificate
You Are Entitled to a Pending Death Certificate
A final death certificate may take ninety or more 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 file the death certificate with the cause and manner of death marked "pending" with the local registrar within 10 days. This is called a "pending death certificate." It is an "official" death certificate. You can obtain a “pending” death certificate from the Funeral Home or the Ector County Clerk’s Office at that time. The final death certificate with cause and manner of death will not be available until the investigation is complete and the final ruling has been made by the Medical Examiner. At that time, an amended death certificate can be obtained the same way as with the “pending” certificate.
Many of the things you need to do after a death can be done with a pending death certificate. These can include:
· You often can open probate 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 in some cases.
Ask your benefits provider if they will accept a pending death certificate, and if so you can obtain one or more of those more quickly and it may save you time and money.