There are so many social connections you will need to notify of the death of a loved one. Just think of it: credit card companies, banks, investment and insurance companies, health care providers…the list can feel endless. What should be your top priority?
That’s simple. While the order of notifications you make will depend on your personal situation, it’s essential that you stick to the following notification process, and keeping good records of all notifications you make. That should be your #1 priority.
A 4-Step Notification Process
- Initially make the contact by telephone.
- Follow-up with written verification.
- Mail all written verifications via registered mail, with signature confirmation required.
- Retain copies of all notices that you send, with the related postal tracking/signature information attached.
For many of the government agencies and financial entities, you will need a certified copy of the death certificate, your loved one’s social security number, and, if you are the executor of the estate, a copy of the appointment form from the probate court.
All creditors should be notified promptly following a death. If there is to be a delay in meeting debts or installment payments, you may be able to file for extensions. Many creditors are sympathetic to these situations and are willing to grant your requests. If credit insurance or mortgage insurance policies were in force, purchases made on credit (vehicles, furniture, etc.) or the home mortgage may be paid off by the insurance. Ask your lending institution.
Also notify the major credit reporting agencies, including Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Instruct them to list all accounts as: “Closed. Account Holder is Deceased.” You may also request a credit report to obtain a list of all creditors and to review recent credit activities.
Social Security and other government agencies should be contacted. These agencies could also include the:
- Veteran’s Administration, if your loved one served in the military.
- Defense Finance and Accounting Service, if the deceased was a military service retiree receiving benefits.
- Office of Personnel Management, if they were a retired or former federal civil service employee.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, if your loved one was not a U.S. citizen.
- Department of Motor Vehicles, if decedent had a driver’s license or state I.D. card.