What to Do When a Loved One Dies in Colorado
Pronouncement of Death and Transportation of the BodyIf your loved one dies at home you will need to make arrangements for transportation of the body. Colorado requires a qualified medical professional to be notified and to make the official pronouncement of death.
Arrange for the body to be picked up according to the coroner's instructions and according to the instructions from a hospital if the body or organs are to be donated, or by the mortuary chosen for the funeral or by the crematory if there will be cremation.
Who to call:
? Call the Coroner. If the death occurs at home, you must call the coroner's office for the county in which the death occurs, or dial 911 if you want the support of emergency personnel. The paramedics will attempt resuscitation.
?If you are using hospice care, do not contact the coroner's office or 911. Instead, call the hospice care provider and they will handle these matters for you.
Call your physician or local hospital so they can come to certify the cause and approximate time of dea
Complete the Funeral and Burial ArrangementsAsk a trusted friend or family member to go with you to the mortuary to advise and support you in making the funeral and burial arrangements. You may have to think about transfer to another location, burial, or cremation. You may ask a clergy member to assist you.
Financial and Other Assistance
If the deceased was a member of the Funeral Consumer Society of Colorado, (303) 759-2800), you can obtain a lower rate on cremation or funeral services. This also could be true for those who simply shop around - cremation prices range from about $900 to $2,400 or so in the Denver metro area. Those prices should include the cost of the urn and other related services.
If the deceased was on public assistance, burial assistance may be available. Contact your local county Department of Social Services as soon as possible and ask for the Burial Assistance Department. There are strict spending limitations, so you must meet with Social Services prior to meeting with the mortuary.
Other Assistance During Funeral PlanningChoose someone to:
? Answer the phone calls from family members and friends and collect mail;
?Care for pets, plants and other household chores;
? Assist with lawn care or snow removal;
? Stay at home during the funeral and visit the home to guard against break-ins occurring when the family is at the funeral; and
? Prepare food for family and friends after the funeral.
Also, to reduce the likelihood of vandalism to the home or condo, gather two or three light timers so that lights, a radio or TV will go on and off at appropriate times.
What to Do One to Ten Days After DeathContact the following persons or institutions:
? Police, to inform them the house will be vacant and to occasionally check the house of the deceased.
? Attorney, to set up a meeting to discuss the probate process, such as how to transfer assets, how to deal with heirs or devises and how to report taxes.
? Accountant or tax preparer, to assist with gathering information as to the assets owned by the deceased and to determine what returns should be filed;
? Investment professionals, to obtain information as to assets owned by the deceased;
? Insurance agents, to discuss insuring the decedent's assets and to obtain necessary death claim forms for life insurance or other assets;
? Social Security, to stop monthly deposits and learn of benefits. The contact number for Social Security is (800) 772-1213.
? Veteran Affairs, to stop monthly check and learn of benefits;
? Agency providing pension services, to stop monthly check and obtain claim forms;
? Guardian, conservator, or agent
Search for Other DocumentsThe personal representative is the court representative who has the authority to search for any important documents. The search should include the home, office, place of business, and any safe deposit boxes. Meeting with advisors such as accountants, investment professionals, insurance agents, and attorneys are advised. Any information indicating that an asset exists or that bills are unpaid should be kept for use in the administration of the estate.
? Funeral and burial plans;
? Safe deposit rental agreements and keys;
? Trust agreements;
? Nuptial agreements;
? Life insurance policies or statements;
? Pension, IRA, or retirement statements;
? Recent income tax returns for past several years;
? Gift tax returns;
? Marriage, birth, and death certificates;
? Divorce papers;
? Military records and discharge papers;
? Certificates of deposit, bank statements, checkbooks, and check registers;
? Notes receivable and payable;
? Motor vehicle title
Death CertificatesThe most common and fastest way to obtain death certificates is through the funeral director. The cost is usually $10 for each death certificate. In order to estimate how many to order, you should estimate the number of different assets held by the deceased or institutions that will require a death certificate.
Some examples of assets that will require an original death certificate are homes held in joint tenancy, stocks, bonds and bank accounts. Many people waste money by ordering too many death certificates - six to eight are usually more than enough.
If you do not order enough, you can get more death certificates later through the County Vital Statistics Department where the death occurred or through the Colorado State Department of Public Health and Environment's Vital Records Office.