Employee's are strongly encouraged to review and update their records at a minimum annually or event oriented, e.g. divorce, death or any other circumstance that affects their desired end state. Furthermore, employee's are encouraged to review and update their "Last Will and Testament" and/or "Tangible Personal Property Memorandum" through their legal representation if available or download and utilize the microsoft word templates if they do not have one. Please refer to Title XXXI, Chapters §456-§475 Trusts and Estates of Decedents.


In addition to providing you with retirement benefits, the CERF Pension Plan also provides a death benefit to your beneficiary.


If you die while actively employed with the county and while a participant in CERF, your beneficiary will receive a $10,000 death benefit regardless of the length of time you worked for the county. You may choose anyone as your beneficiary. It is important to keep your beneficiary designation form current. Copies of this form are available from your county clerk’s office, the CERF Administrative Office, or the CERF Web site (

You may designate an entity, such as a charity, to receive this benefit. You may also designate more than one beneficiary by indicating the percentage you want each beneficiary to receive. If you fail to specify the percentages, the benefit will be paid in equal shares to your named beneficiaries.

If you do not designate a beneficiary, this benefit will be paid to your surviving spouse. If you do not have a surviving spouse, the benefit will be paid in equal shares to your children. If you do not have surviving children, it will be paid to your estate.

Unlike a traditional life insurance policy, this is a cash benefit that is paid by CERF. It is important to let your beneficiary know that this is a taxable benefit.

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Pursuant to House Bill 795, effective August 28, 2004, if you die prior to retirement, have at least eight years of creditable service and do not have a surviving spouse, your contributions will be refunded to a designated beneficiary. If you have not designated a beneficiary, the contributions will be paid to your estate. This benefit is paid in addition to the $10,000 death benefit described previously, and is paid even if you are no longer a county employee at the time of your death.

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If you are married, have at least eight years of continuous creditable service and die, your spouse is eligible for a 50% survivor benefit, whether or not you are still a county employee at the time of your death.


If you are at least age 62 at the time of your death, this benefit will commence the first day of the month following your death. The benefit will be paid following completion of required applications and certifications.

If you die before age 62, your surviving spouse may choose to wait to draw the benefit until such time as you would have reached age 62, or elect to receive an actuarially-reduced benefit beginning the month following the date of your death.

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If you die after your pension begins, survivor benefits will be paid to your designated survivor only if you elected a form of payment that provides benefits after your death.

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Your surviving spouse may elect to have the entire taxable amount, or only a portion, of his or her lump-sum death benefit rolled over to an eligible retirement plan in order to avoid having 20% federal taxes withheld.

If your beneficiary is someone other than a spouse, the death benefit is eligible for a rollover, or the beneficiary may choose whether or not to have 10% federal taxes withheld from the payment. Monthly annuity payments are not eligible for rollover.

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