One early challenge arising from a loved one’s death is going through his or her various accounts and taking the necessary steps to cancel these accounts or transfer ownership of the account to another person.
Most people have gone paperless and access their bills online such as utilities, insurance, memberships, medical prescriptions, and other recurring payment programs. In addition to these bills, some people subscribe to multiple content digital subscription services.
Settling these accounts helps avoid unnecessary charges and protect against identity theft and fraud.
If the duty to handle outstanding accounts falls to you, you will first want to identify which accounts your loved one held and then figure out what to do with them. The first step is to figure out what accounts the deceased had by looking through their mail, email, or phone notifications.
You may get lucky, as the deceased may have compiled a list as part of their estate plan.
Deciding Whether to Cancel or Keep an Account
Once you have identified what accounts were in the deceased’s name, you can move on to the next step of deciding whether to cancel or keep them.
Do not deactivate a loved one’s cell phone service until you are certain that you no longer need the phone. Access to other accounts that need to be cancelled or transferred and most importantly, access to bank accounts and other assets, may be conditioned on receiving a security code by text to this phone. Such access may be impossible once the phone number is no longer in service.
Utilities may need to be temporarily kept in the deceased’s name, transferred to another account holder, or canceled, depending on the circumstances.
Home security system deserves the same consideration as utilities. A security system may help to preserve the assets of the estate, particularly for a home left vacant while the estate is settling. It may even be necessary to install a home security system if the house is left vacant for any period of time.
The Easy Ones – Content Subscription Service
Unless the subscription service has a shared family plan, these services can most likely be canceled. These services are largely digital media services:
Physical Delivery Services
U.S. Mail Service should be transferred to you by change of mailing address. Other regular deliveries such as physical newspapers, newsletters, and magazines should be cancelled.
Do not forget delivery services subscription box services like Amazon Prime, Walmart+ and Chewy. Members to these services may have recurring monthly deliveries for certain items.
Post-Mortem Trust Administration / Probate and Legal Assistance
As you deal with the emotional challenges of a death in the family, you may be simultaneously navigating legal issues related to losing someone close to you. Being named a successor trustee or personal representative (executor) come with a lot of responsibility.
Our estate planning attorneys offer services tailored to trustees, personal representatives and other loved ones help them do right by their loved one—and the law. For answers to your estate administration questions, reach out to our team.