When someone passes away

When someone passes away

When someone passes away, make sure to notify the three credit reporting agencies about the death in order to minimize the risk of identity theft. You want to avoid someone else from “running up bills” under the name of the deceased.

When a loved one dies, it is important to notify all three national credit reporting agencies of the death in order to minimize the risk of identity theft. Any delay in reporting the death may lead to an increased risk of identity theft.

Either the personal representative of the estate or the surviving spouse is entitled to notify credit reporting agencies of the death. Consult a qualified trusts and estates attorney to determine if you are the person entitled to notify the agencies on behalf of your loved one.

Immediately contact all three national credit reporting agencies by telephone to report the death: Experian (888-397-3742), Equifax (800-685-1111) and TransUnion (800-888-4213). Request the credit report is flagged as “Deceased. Do Not Issue Credit”. Follow up with a written correspondence to each agency sent via certified mail. Be sure to retain a copy for your records.

Your correspondence should include your loved one’s name, most recent address, social security number, birth date, date of death and a copy of the death certificate. You should also include your name, contact information and relationship to your loved one. If you are the court-appointed representative of the estate, you should also include proof of your court appointment.

If you are the surviving spouse, include a copy of your marriage certificate. After consulting your attorney, use the following sample letter to notify the credit reporting agencies of death.

If you are the court-appointed representative of your loved one’s estate or the surviving spouse, you may request a copy of your loved one’s credit report. You may include your request in the same written correspondence used to notify the agency of the death. The credit report will provide a list of all credit accounts issued in your loved one’s name and can serve as a helpful guide in ensuring all existing accounts are updated or closed, as appropriate, during the estate administration process.

Notifying credit reporting agencies of your loved one’s death is only one important step of things to handle when someone passes away. A qualified trusts and estates attorney can guide you through the complex process of updating and closing existing credit accounts.

When a loved one dies, it is also important to notify numerous other agencies, institutions and companies to reduce the risk of identity theft and protect your loved one’s assets. An experienced attorney can greatly simplify this process and assist you in making all necessary notifications of death.

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