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Handling an estate? A few tips to maximize member benefits

0628
 2016
By Lisa Ogle 
 
Are you the executor of an estate for someone who was a Bluebonnet co-op member? If so, the estate may be eligible to retire the account’s capital credits (a share of annual co-op profits) early and receive a check. On an annual basis, Bluebonnet’s governing board considers the early retirement of capital credits on accounts designated as estates. 
 
To get the Bluebonnet account designated as an estate, you’ll need to bring the death certificate or executor papers to a Bluebonnet member service center. Although this is not a complicated process, the co-op has a few checks and balances to ensure the capital credits go to the correct party. Banks are increasingly cracking down on cashing checks made out to a deceased person, so it’s smart to take care of this process as quickly as possible. 
 
If a family member or someone else has been paying the electric bill for the account and plans to continue doing so, that person may want to change the account to his or her name. That person then would accumulate the capital credits, rather than having them go to the estate and, possibly, to multiple beneficiaries. 
 
Transferring a deceased person’s Bluebonnet account to a new member has several benefits. First, only the Bluebonnet member listed on the account can make changes to the account. That person can also request a security light, tree trimming or a new meter; update contact information; and possibly receive assistance in paying a bill. 
 
New members will also get faster service when reporting a power outage if the phone number they call from is associated with the address on the account. That allows us to automatically pinpoint the outage and dispatch a repair crew to the house or business much more quickly. 
 
Being a Bluebonnet member also provides the opportunity to vote during the co-op’s Annual Meeting, which is held every May. At this event, members receive updates on co-op business and have a chance to win prizes, vote on who governs the co-op, or decide on important business matters. 
 
If you have questions about how to update the account of a deceased person, email memberservices@bluebonnet.coop or call 800-842-7708. You can also stop by one of our member service centers in Bastrop, Brenham, Giddings, Lockhart or Manor.
 

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