What does “pending” mean on a death certificate?
In approximately 30% of our cases we are unable to record a definitive cause and/or manner of death on the death certificate immediately following our examination. After the exam is completed, it is sometimes necessary for us to perform microscopic, chemical or toxicological tests in order to arrive at the exact cause of death.
Occasionally additional information, more extensive testing or further studies are required in order to accurately determine a cause and manner of death. A death certificate with pending as the cause of death still allows your family to make immediate funeral arrangements. An amended or final death certificate will be issued upon completion of the investigation and you will be notified when the final death certificate is ready.