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Tips from Redtail’s Training Team: How to Handle . . . Client Death

Category: Resources
How to Handle Feature

Redtail’s Training Team puts together these “How to Handle” posts in order to make you aware of some of the ways you might use Redtail CRM to assist with processes, events, etc., that are likely to come up for most offices at some point.

This one will focus on best practices in Redtail CRM in terms of dealing with a client’s death. For each step in the directions, we’ll provide relevant links from our helpdesk as well as images or gifs in some cases to give you a better idea of what the process looks like within Redtail.


It is important to have processes in place so that when a client passes your office takes immediate action to reflect the client’s death within Redtail CRM. Upon receiving news that someone has passed, Redtail has some general recommendations for developing your own client death procedures.


1. Create a Contact Status of “Deceased” in your database.

Database Lists
Database Lists and the Contact Record Video

Create Status of Deceased

2. When a client passes away, change their Status from whatever it currently is to “Deceased”.

Contact Details
Redtail Essentials: Contact Record Video

3. Fill out the “Date of Death” field on the client’s contact record. This will ensure that the contact is removed from the birthday reminders and various reports within the database.

Contact Details
Redtail Essentials: Contact Record Video

update contact details

When you add a Date of Death for a contact, moving forward you’ll see a red banner at the top of the contact record to indicate they are deceased:

deceased contact notification banner
4. Update the spouse’s record to designate them as the new head of household (if applicable)

How Do I Change Family Heads
Redtail Essentials: Relationships

update head of household

5. Adjust the Family Name to reflect the new household arrangement (if applicable).

How Do I Change Family Heads
Redtail Essentials: Relationships

update family name

6. Remove the Client Review Date from the deceased client’s record. If the client’s spouse is an Active Client as well, add date to new head of household’s contact record.

Client Review
Client Reviews Reminder Report

remove client review date
7. Add a Note to the deceased contact’s record, indicating all changes. There are three options on how to handle these notes:

Redtail Essentials: Notes Video

A. Copy to another contact record.

Copy to another contact record.

B. Move to another contact record.

Move to another contact record.

C. Add a note to the deceased contact record with a hyperlink.

add note with hyperlink


* The method you choose is entirely up to you and your fellow database users. Copying the notes is the Redtail Trainer recommended method as it keeps the notes available on both contact records. If you prefer to keep everything on one centralized contact record, consider the move notes method. Lastly, if you find yourself needing to copy or move a high volume of notes, the hyperlink method saves lots of clicks and allows you to view those notes on an as-needed basis only.

8. Check open activities on the deceased contact record.

Contact Overview Activities
Activities by Contact Report

check open activities

9. Add a membership option for ‘Deceased Husband/Wife/Spouse’.

Membership Options
Redtail Essentials: Relationships

add a membership option

10. Remove the deceased from the family, and add memberships between the deceased and living relatives. This will allow for the relationship to be tracked without infringing on the tax definition of family.

Family Relationships
Redtail Essentials: Relationships Video

remove deceased from family add membership

11. Create a Workflow that breaks down the deceased client planning process step-by-step.

Workflow Video Series

Client Death Workflow12. Add an Automation that starts a workflow when a client’s status is changed to “Deceased”.

Redtail Essentials: Automations Video

client death automation


By updating the contact record with information about the client’s passing, you ensure that your office communications with family members will be sensitive to their loss.


Download a PDF version of these instructions below.

As always, if you have any questions you can reach out to our team at or 800.206.5030. We are always happy to help you understand any aspect of Redtail CRM better so that you can better put it to use in your business!

Redtail dog with a headset

Posted by: Redtail Technology
About: Redtail Technology, Inc. is a leader in web-based Client Relationship Management solutions for financial advisors.