When You Lose a Loved One

Losing a loved one is the most difficult time. You may be faced with complex legal and financial decisions following the loss. Our Family Guide includes tips and phone numbers to help you during this time.

  • Things to ask when calling your loved one's employer
    • Any pay due, including vacation, sick time, disability income
    • Other benefits for which you and others may be eligible
    • Life insurance policies through the employer, who the beneficiaries are and steps for filing a claim
  • Documents you'll need to settle your loved one's estate
    • Death certificate needed for filing tax returns, benefits and claims
    • Will and/or trust
    • Deeds to personal property
    • Business agreements
    • Tax returns
    • Financial services account information
    • Loan agreements and loan coupon books
    • Recent bills for...
      • gas, water, electricity, telephone(s), cable, internet, credit cards, etc.
    • Earnings statements
    • Birth and marriage certificates
    • Military discharge papers
    • Social Security Number
    • Vehicle registration
  • Requesting Death Certificates

    You can request death certificates through your funeral director at the time arrangements are made. Additional copies can be ordered from the El Paso County Clerk's Office at the address shown below. A fee will be charged.

  • Financial Services Accounts, Insurance and Government Agencies
    • Ask financial institution(s) about the availability of funds to you.
      • If funds are to be wire transferred* into one of your GECU accounts, you will need to provide ...
        • Your new checking or savings account number
        • GECU's routing number: 312081089
    • Call Social Security and other government and professional organizations to notify them about your loved one’s death.

      Find out if you are eligible for any payments or benefits.

  • The Will
    The will specifies the last wishes of your loved one and designates the executor/executrix (personal representative).

    This person will be responsible for...

    • Paying all creditors
    • Distributing property, personal belongings or money
    • Filing estate tax returns

    Consider consulting an attorney and an accountant to help you with details regarding the will and estate.

  • Probate
    Typically an attorney will probate the will. When a will is probated it is the legal process of establishing the validity of a will before a judge of the probate court.

    If you have any questions or wish to handle this yourself, contact...

  • Credit Reporting Services

    If you need to contact credit reporting services, you may reach them at:

  • Call Your Life Insurance Company
    • Once you have located all life insurance policy paperwork:
      • Call your insurance company agent for steps on filing a claim
      • The beneficiary completes claim forms and other appropriate paperwork
      • Documents needed to complete claim:
        • death certificate
        • statement from person filing claim to establish proof

“Steps you must take when someone dies”
– MSN Money “Step by Step: Your Guide to Making Practical Decisions When a Loved One Dies,” by Ellen Shaw, (Quality Life Resources, 2001)
“Grief and Loss Final Details: A Checklist,” AARP, www.aarp.org