Managing Your Deceased Loved One’s Accounts

Account Settlement Guidance

While coping with the loss of someone close to you isn’t easy, sorting out their financial affairs can make things seem harder still. You’re not alone. Orange County’s Credit Union Associates are here to help, and will gladly answer any questions you may have along the way.

We understand that visiting a branch to settle these matters in person isn’t always possible. In many cases, our Member Service Center will be able to assist through the entire process remotely. The following FAQs should help in answering most questions pertaining to the management of a loved one’s account. If you have any additional questions, please contact us Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Frequenty Asked Questions

Why is the certified death certificate needed?
The death certificate gives us the information needed to verify the identity and legal residence of our Member. We will mail the death certificate back to you at the address provided.

Where do I get the death certificate?
A certified death certificate is generally available from the funeral director who handled the deceased’s funeral arrangements, as well as the Registry of Birth, Deaths, and Marriages in the applicate state. You may need multiple certified copies of the death certificate when dealing with various institutions in settling the deceased’s affairs. The complexity of the estate and the number of institutions that the deceased conducted business with will help you determine the number of copies you may need.

How can I deliver the death certificate to Orange County’s Credit Union?
You can take the certified death certificate to any Orange County’s Credit Union Branch or you can mail it to the following address:

Orange County’s Credit Union
Attn: MSC Account Administration
P.O. Box 11777
Santa Ana, CA 92711

Will Orange County’s Credit Union ask for anything else?
Other documents may be required under specific circumstances. We will work with you on what may be required for handling our Member’s specific relationship.

For Small Estates
We will need the CA 13100 probate form to be filled out completely and notarized.

For Formal Probate
We will need to review court-issued Letters of Testamentary or Letters of Administration appointing an executor or administrator.

How are accounts transferred after an account owner passes away?
The action taken will vary based on the way the account is owned.

How long will it take the funds to be released?
As the specifics of each account are different, the time it may take to settle an account will also vary. In general, we begin to process the request as soon as we receive the necessary documents.

Are there any other Credit Union-related products or services that may require attention?
Yes, some possibilities to consider include:

  • Online banking and scheduled bill payments
  • Direct Deposits
  • Automatic debits and loan payments
  • Credit card payments and rewards
  • Investments and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
  • Insurance Products

How will individual accounts be handled?
If the affected Membership account was owned solely by the deceased Member, Orange County’s Credit Union will make every effort to contact any Pay-on-Death (P.O.D) beneficiary(ies) designated on the account Signature Card. Arrangements for distribution of funds will be made at this time.

If a P.O.D. beneficiary has not been assigned, funds in the deceased Member’s account can be distributed in one of two ways. If an Executor or Administrator of the Deceased Member’s Estate has been assigned, a distribution can be made in the name of the deceased Member’s Estate once Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary have been presented to Orange County’s Credit Union.

If the deceased Member’s estate is valued at $166,250.00 or less, funds can be disbursed to the successor of the deceased Member. The successor would need to provide an affidavit or declaration pursuant to Probate Code 13100. In order for this distribution to be completed, at least 40 days must have elapsed since the Member’s date of death.

An affidavit is a notarized, sworn, and written declaration made before an official authority, such as a judge of the court or notary public. The affidavit states that there was no estate established, according to the bylaws of the state in which the deceased Member resided. It also states who’s entitled to the funds, such as a surviving spouse, child, or sole heir, according to a Will. The affidavit should also mention account numbers, account values, and relieve Orange County’s Credit Union of all responsibility once the funds are disbursed.

How will Joint accounts be handled?
If the deceased Member was listed as the “Primary Owner” of the joint account, funds will be disbursed to the joint owner and the account will be closed. If you are a joint owner, you’re eligible to open a new Membership account with Orange County’s Credit Union. If you would like to establish a new account, you can visit any branch or open an account online. (Normal approval standards apply.)

If the deceased Member was listed as a “Joint Owner”, the Membership account can remain open.

How will CDs be handled?
If the CD has an “individual owner”, the funds will be disbursed to the deceased Member’s estate or next of kin.

If the CD has a joint owner, the surviving joint owner may choose one of the following options:

  • Transfer the CD funds “as is” into a newly established CD, keeping the same dividend rate and maturity date as the original.
  • Cash in the CD without penalty.

If the joint owner does not have an Orange County’s Credit Union account, one can be established by visiting any branch or opening an account online. (Normal approval standards apply.)

How will IRAs be handled?
The IRA account(s) will be closed without a penalty from Orange County’s Credit Union, and distributed to the designated beneficiary(ies). A spousal beneficiary may choose to accept the funds from the IRA account(s) as their own and deposit them directly into an IRA account established in their name. For (a) non-spousal beneficiary(ies), the funds can be distributed to an IRA Beneficiary account at another institution.

How will personal loans, lines of credit, and auto loans be handled?
If a Debt Protection Plan was elected by the Member, a claim will be filed and any applicable Debt Protection Plan coverage will be applied to the date-of-death loan balance.

Outstanding loan balances become the responsibility of the co-borrower or the Member’s estate. In the event there’s no co-borrower or the estate is insolvent, the loan will be referred to Orange County’s Credit Union Loan Servicing Center.

How will affected credit cards be handled?
If the deceased was the primary cardholder, the credit card will be closed. If there’s a co-applicant on the credit card, however, the co-applicant can then apply for a new card in his/her name and transfer the remaining balance. 

If there is a remaining unpaid balance, any applicable Debt Protection Plans will be applied, and the individual cards will be closed.

Should I continue making monthly payments on the account?
Until the amount of the Debt Protection Plan proceeds is determined and the actual outstanding liability is known, please do not make any payments. During the period, no interest will accrue on the date-of-death balance.

Am I liable for the unpaid balance on an affected credit card account?
If there is a balance after any applicable Debt Protection Plan settlement, you’re responsible for its payment only if you are a co-applicant. You are also responsible for any legitimate charges made after the date of death.

If you are an authorized signer on the credit card account, please destroy or return the credit card to Orange County’s Credit Union. You are only responsible for the unpaid balance if you apply for a credit card in your name and transfer the balance to the new card.

What happens if there’s a First Mortgage loan held by the deceased Member?
Please contact the Orange County’s Credit Union Mortgage Loan Servicing Center at (877) 883-1063 for further assistance.

What happens if there’s a Home Equity or Home Equity Line of Credit held by the deceased Member?
If an applicable Debt Protection Plan was elected by the Member, a claim will be filed and any applicable Debt Protection Plan coverage will be applied to the date-of-death loan balance.

Outstanding loan balances become the responsibility of the co-borrower or the Member’s estate. In the event there’s no co-borrower or the estate is insolvent, the loan will be referred to Orange County’s Credit Union Loan Servicing Center.

Administrator or Executor of Estate
The Administrator or Executor of an Estate is a legal term referring to a person appointed by a court to administer the estate of a deceased person who left no will.  

An Affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact, voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law.

CD (Certificate of Deposit)
A Certificate of Deposit, or CD, is a time deposit with a fixed term, and usually, a fixed interest rate. It is intended that the CD be held until maturity, at which time the money may be withdrawn together with the accrued interest.

The sum of a person's assets, legal rights, interests, and entitlements to property of any kind, less all liabilities at that time.

IRA (Individual Retirement Account)
An Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, is a form of "individual retirement plan", provided by many financial institutions, that provides tax advantages for retirement savings in the United States.

Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary
Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary are letters issued by a court, appointing an executor and granting that person authority over estate assets.

Next of Kin
An individual’s closest living relative or relatives.

Pay-on-Death Beneficiary
An individual or individuals designated by the account holder(s), who receives payment of the remaining funds after the death of the account holder(s).

The process of gathering a decedent’s assets, paying the creditors and any taxes owed; then distributing the remainder according to the will.

Toll-free: (800) 829-1040
Web site:

Social Security Administration
Toll-free: (800) 772-1213
Web site:

US Treasury
Toll-free: (800) 4US-BONDS
Web site:

Orange County Employees Retirement System
Phone: (714) 558-6200
Web site:

Orange County Employees Association
Phone: (714) 835-3355
Web site:

County of Orange Clerk-Recorder
Phone: (714) 834-2500
Web site:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Benefits: (800) 827-1000
Life Insurance:(800) 669-8477
TDD: (800) 829-4833
Web site:

Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance Claims Department
Toll-free: (800) 779-5433

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