CMS People - What fields require a change upon a death in CMS?

When you have a death in the church, you must make several changes to your database to indicate this information.

From CMS Membership, click Find People and find the family where there was a death.  

We will use the Larry & Sharon Dennison family as an example.  Larry recently passed away and we need to make the necessary changes to their data.

Label Name - Remove the head or spouse that died from the label name field.  If this was a single person household, you can skip this step.

When you change the label name, you will be asked if you would also like to change the Statement Name in Contribution, answer Yes.

Salutation - Remove Larry's name from the Salutation to prevent it from printing on any future Letter-Mailer's or Mail Merged Letters. If this was a single person household, you can skip this step.

Unit Type - If you use this field, you may want to change it from Married Couple or Married Couple with Children to One Adult Household or One Parent Family. If this was a single person household, you can skip this step.

Mailing Relationship - You must change the Mailing Relationship of the Deceased member from either Head or Spouse to other. 

This will prevent the person from printing on certain Household Reports and Merge processes.

If this was a single person household, you can skip this step.

Start with the spouse who survived and click the down arrow at Mailing Relationship and choose Head.  Then click into that person's first name.

The system will let you know that the new Head of household has been selected and the old head of household will be re-assigned the mailing relationship of Other.  Click OK.

Now the Surviving Spouse (Sharon) and Deceased Spouse (Larry) should both have the proper mailing relationship.

Member Status - Many denominations must track the number of people who leave the church for varying reasons, including death.  Changing the Member Status of the deceased member will help you track that information.

Highlight the deceased spouse's first name and click View Person to view their Person Tab in Membership.

NOTE: Since the Member Status data table is uniquely defined by each church, your codes may be slightly different than the examples given.

Record Status - The Record Status field indicates if the person or household record has been changed, or if it should be flagged for removal at the end of the year.

Click the down arrow at Status and choose Remove.

You can also prevent anyone marked for Removal from printing on various reports and labels in CMS. 

The Default in Membership IS NOT to include those people marked for removal.

The Default in Contribution IS to include those people marked for removal (to include their contributions, if any).

At the end of the year, after you have printed contributor statements and statistical reports, you can quickly delete everyone in the system who is marked for Removal.

Click the Events tab.

Death - You can enter the Date of Death, Cemetery and City and State where this person was buried.

If there was a surviving Spouse, you'll need to make the following changes:

Click the View Household button on the right.


Highlight the surviving spouse's first name and click the View Person button, and choose Events.

Marital Status - Surviving Spouse Only - Change the Martial Status of the Surviving Spouse to indicate Widow/Widower.

Click the Contribution Link in the upper right corner of the screen and choose Summary to quickly switch to the Surviving Spouse's Contribution System display.

Combine Contributions - This will move all contributions from the Deceased Head/Spouse to the Surviving Head/Spouse.

From the Surviving Spouse's Summary display, on the pull down menu at the top of the screen, click Record | Combine.

Select the name of the deceased Head/Spouse from the list and click OK.


Click OK at the confirmation display.

Click the View Household button on the right.


Envelope Number - If your church uses envelope numbers, you'll need to move the envelope number assigned to the deceased head/spouse to the surviving head/spouse.  This will ensure that any future contributions are attributed to the surviving spouse, and that they won't get a statement in both names at the end of the year.

From the Contribution System Household screen, click into the Envelope Number field on the Deceased Spouse and press the Delete Key on your keyboard to remove the envelope number.

Click into the Envelope Number field on the Surviving Spouse and type in the same envelope number.

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