Stage 1 fire restrictions, enacted for unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.

Family Assistance

Family Assistance Unit

The Family Assistance Unit is a program in the Boulder County Coroner’s Office that was established in 2022. Led by the Family Assistance Coordinator, the unit provides support services and resources to individuals who have lost a loved one due to a sudden or unexpected death.

The mission of the Family Assistance Unit of the Boulder County Coroner’s Office is to provide assistance to the families, relatives, and friends of those affected by a sudden or unexpected death. The unit offers assistance by explaining the role of the coroner’s office and by helping individuals find resources for any identified needs. The core values of the unit are serving with care, communication, and dedication for as long as needed.

Members of the Family Assistance Unit have found it critical to make contact with those grieving early on and continue to work with those individuals until the support is no longer needed (30-90 days on average). The Family Assistance Unit offers support services and resources, provides guidance on next steps that often go beyond the coroner’s involvement, and provide community referrals. The Family Assistance Unit’s interaction with families and loved ones is concurrent with but separate from that of the death investigation itself. In addition to offering support services and resources, members of the Family Assistance Unit provide updates of a case such as timeline, death certificate updates, and help answer general questions.

On behalf of the Boulder County Coroner’s Office, we extend our sincerest condolences on your loss. We understand that you may have questions about who the coroner is, why we are involved with your loved one, what our office involvement will look like, and what to do next. Our hope is that the information provided below will help answer some of those questions. If you have additional questions that are not answered on the FAQ page, please contact the office directly. Our goal is to provide as much support as you need while you navigate your loss while providing you with as much information as possible so that you can make well informed decision on behalf of your loved one.

Next Steps

After a family member, relative, or friend dies you may be asking yourself what do I do now? We recognize that you may be experiencing shock, intense sadness, and difficulty processing what has happened, and therefore it can be difficult to identify which steps to take next. We want you to know that you do not have to do this alone, and we encourage you to ask for help from family members or friends. The Family Assistance Unit has created a helpful tool that can aid you in navigating through these practicalities, titled After the Loss.

Notify Friends and Family of Your Loved Ones Passing

  • Do your best to start notifying friends and family of your loved ones passing. Illicit the help of trusted family to help in sharing the news.
  • Find Out About Existing Funeral and Burial Plans
  • If you don’t already know your loved ones wishes for funeral or burial plans, look for any letters of instruction or have a conversation with family members about what arrangements will look like.

Secure The Property

• Locked your loved one’s home and vehicle.
• Ask a friend or neighbor to water plants and get the mail.
• Throw out food in the refrigerator.
• Lock up any valuables or cash within the home.

Arrange Pet Care

  • Be sure that your loved one’s pets are taken care of until there is a permanent place for them.
    • A relative who likes animals is a good option.

Arrange For Funeral, Memorial Service, And Burial or Cremation

  • Search for documentation to find out of there was a prepaid burial plan.
  • Choose a funeral home and decide on specifics like burial or cremation, where the service will be, or what type of headstone or urn to purchase.
  • Gather family and friends to help with the funeral.
    • Line up relatives to write eulogies, to help plan the service, write thank you notes, or arrange post funeral gatherings.
    • Write or enlist the help of a relative to write an obituary.
  • If your loved was in the military, contact the Veteran Administration to report the death and learn about burial benefits at 1-800-827-1000.
  • To inquire if your loved one was receiving local benefits contact the Boulder County Housing and Human Services at 303-441-1000.

Notify Your Loved One’s Employer

  • Ask about benefits information and any outstanding paychecks, as well as if there is a company-wide life insurance policy.
  • Inquire about a final paycheck. Make sure to ask about back pay, accrued time off, or bonuses or commissions that are due.

Consider Hiring a Professional Cleaner, If Necessary

  • Sometimes, depending on the nature of your loved ones passing, it is a good idea or necessary to hire someone to clean the home and is not recommended to do on your own.

Obtain A Copy of The Death Certificate

  • If a Coroner is signing the death certificate, the timeline can differ on when a final certified copy is available.

Contact Federal Agencies

  • Go to the USPS website or into the post office and submit a forwarding request to have mail forwarded to you or whoever is working with you to attend to the immediate affairs.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration to stop Benefits at 1-800-772-1213.
  • Contact he IRS to prevent identity fraud at 1-800-829-1040.

Find The Will and Executor

  • Ideally you will know where to locate the will. If not, look for the documents in the home or safe deposit box.
    • The executor is who will manage the settlings of the estate.
    • If there isn’t a will the estate will go to probate and an administrator will be named in place of the executor.

Make An Inventory List and Track Down All Assets

  • Generally, the probate process starts with an Inventory of assets such as house, car, personal property, furniture, jewelry, banks, etc., that be filed in court. You can hire an appraiser for the physical items.
  • Contact banks and financial institutions to close out account.
  • Contact mortgage lender to get next steps.

Make A List of Bills

  • Provide this to the executor so that important expenses like mortgage and taxes are taken care of when the estate is settled.

Take The Will to Probate

  • This process ensures that your loved one’s debts and liabilities are paid and that any remaining assets are given to the beneficiaries.

Close Credit Card Accounts

  • Contact the credit card companies and tell them you are closing the account on behalf of the deceased relative.
  • Keep records of all the accounts you close and inform the executor of any outstanding balances.
    • If a credit card account is shared with another person who intends on keeping the account open, contact the credit card company and inform them the relative has died so their name can be removed.
  • Destroy all credit cards with their name on.
  • Contact credit reporting agencies to prevent fraud.

Cancel Services No Longer Needed

  • Using your list of bills start cancelling services that are no longer needed, like cellphone, cable and internet, streaming services, or subscriptions.

Decide What to Do with The Passport

  • One option is to keep the passport as a memento in your home.
  • A second option is to have the passport canceled and returned to you or canceled and disposed of.

Cancel Driver’s License/ Car Title Transfer

Terminate Insurance Policies

  • Contact providers to terminate coverage of persons home, auto or health insurance policies.
    • You may ask that unused premiums be returned.
  • Contact life insurance companies to get next steps.

Memorialize or Delete Social Media Accounts

  • You can contact the companies to request that their personal social media page be memorized or deleted, whichever options feels most appropriate.

Close Email Accounts

  • Closing email accounts helps prevent identify theft and fraud.
    • If your loved one set up a will it’s possible that they included login information. If not, contacting the company and providing a copy of the death certificate is usually sufficient.

Update Voter Registration

  • It is a good idea to contact your state or county directly to find out how to remove your loved one from voter registration. To learn more, visit U.S. Voter FAQ’s.

Contact A CPA

  • Your loved one’s estate may have to file a final tax return on their behalf and hiring a CPA to assist in getting the taxes right can ensure it is done correctly.

If you cannot locate a will, you will most likely need to go to probate court so that a judge can name an administrator of the estate and assets. If you have questions or wish to initiate probate, please contact the Boulder County Court Probate Division at 720-664-1522. Here is a link to the Colorado Judicial Branch Probate Instructions and Forms .

The Boulder County Burial Assistance Program provides payments to providers for burial and cremation services of low-income residents. Burial benefits are used to cover reasonable and necessary costs for burial services. Eligibility and application process can be found by visiting the Boulder County Burial Assistance website.

Confirmation of Death

Sometimes, as you are working through next steps, there might be a request from an institution or organization to confirm the death in order to manage those handlings/accounts. The Boulder County Coroner’s Office can provide a Confirmation of Death letter to an individual who requests one for the purposes stated above, at no cost. Please email your request to the investigations teams using this email: bccoinvestigations@bouldercounty.gov.

Resources

Navigating the loss of a family member, relative, or friend can be incredibly difficult and confusing. The Family Assistance Unit assists in providing resources that will support you in an emotional, logistical, and financial manner. You are not alone is this process, and the resources listed below can be of great value. We also encourage you to reach out to friends or family for help or guidance, and to consider joining a support group or seek therapy.

Grief Support

Colorado Crisis Services

844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255

This is a statewide behavioral health crisis response system that offers mental health, substance use, or emotional crisis help by providing free, confidential, and immediate support. Their clinicians can also provide referrals.

3Hopeful Hearts: Child Loss Grief Support

970-430-6136

Area of support: Support groups for parents, siblings, grandparents, after the loss of an infant of child of any age, including loss-specific closed groups, as well as educational materials.

Center for Loss and Life Transition

970-226-6050

Area of support: An organization that is dedicated to helping people who are grieving. Grief basics, and reading material on loss, including spouse, child, parent, sibling, friend, coworker, grandchild, and assistance with finding a grief counselor.

Colorado Muslim Society

303-696-9800

Areas of support: Spiritual support after a death including Janazah, and burial services.

Griefshare.org: Grief Support

Area of support: GriefShare provides safe and welcoming grief recovery support groups that meet weekly, in your community. Each group meets for 13 weeks and offers videos and supportive discussion on topics such as loneliness, fear, anger, regrets, relationships, and hope.

Grief Support Network: Bereavement

720-295-4760

Area of support: adult mindful grieving program, mindful connection youth program, community circle, disaster support, and access to their provider network.

HeartLight Center: Grief and Bereavement

720-748-9908

Areas of support: general grief, spouse/partner loss, suicide, child loss, LGBTQ+ grief support, Support groups and programs, training and education, workshops, and educational materials.

Judi’s House: Grief Support for Children

720-941-0331

Area of support: Provides grieving children and their families a safe space to find connection, through assessments, individual and family counseling, play therapy, and group counseling.

TRU Community: Grief Support for Children, Teens, and Adults

303-604-5300

Area of support: Individual and family grief counseling, adult grief support, youth and family grief support, and quarterly newsletters.

Visiting Nurse Association

720-325-2987

Area of support: Jewish grief support, survivors of sudden loss, spouse/partner loss, virtual parent loss, walking grief group, meditation and creative expression, and community remembrance services.

Clean Up Services Information

Please visit our Clean Up Services Information webpage.

Contact Us

Coroner

303-441-3535
303-441-4535 (fax)
coroner@bouldercounty.gov

An on-call investigator may be contacted 24/7 through the Sheriff's dispatch at 303-441-4444.

Location

5610 Flatiron Parkway
Boulder, CO 80301

Map and Directions

Mailing Address

P. O. Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306

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