[Sample] Notification of Death Letter to Credit Reporting Agencies


[Sample] Notification of Death Letter to Credit Reporting Agencies

You'll need to do more than just plan the funeral when a loved one passes away. Legal and financial obligations are among the most difficult tasks. 

Particularly for grieving family members, these are frequently unclear.

It's simple to overlook your loved one's credit when so many other things going on. 

To prevent your loved one from becoming a victim of identity theft or another scam, you must inform the credit reporting agencies of your loved one's passing.

Scammers, unfortunately, target the dead, but your family has options to protect your deceased loved one from this from happening. 

We'll describe in this guide how to notify credit reporting agencies of a death.

Post-planning advice: If you are the executor of a deceased loved one, taking care of their unfinished business without a system to streamline your procedure can be overwhelming. 

We have a post-loss checklist that will assist you in making sure that the family, estate, and other matters of your loved one are handled.

After-Death Social Security Fraud

There are more than 6.4 million active U.S. Social Security numbers for people who are 112 years of age or older, according to a report from the Office of the Inspector General. 

In fact, this is a sign of Social Security fraud because it is improbable that many people in this age group are still alive.

The recent deceased's Social Security numbers are frequently stolen by criminals for use in a variety of fraudulent activities. 

When they:
  • After death, steal the person's Social Security benefits.
  • Open new credit lines via loans and credit cards.
  • Open new accounts for services or utilities in the deceased's name.
  • In a criminal situation, divulge this information.

In essence, these criminals charge several debts to the credit of your loved one. These debts are then not repaid. 

It's possible that you won't discover the illegal conduct until it's too late since many households don't check this credit report. 

When these lenders finally demand payment for these obligations, the estate of your deceased loved one is put in jeopardy.

Where do these thieves get their information from? They are adept at looking for those who are most vulnerable. 

They seek for people who have lately died away on social media and obituary websites.
These websites often divulge private information, such as an address in the area. 

From there, crooks use resources like mail, relatives, and even the internet to uncover important info. 

The act of stealing a dead person's identity is referred to as "ghosting" since the person's identity continues to exist after death.

Fortunately, there are precautions you may do to safeguard your loved one's identity. Your loved one should be able to rest in peace without having to worry about their credit after passing away.

Sample Letter Notifying Credit Bureaus of a Death

What should your letter of death notice contain? Less is more. 

You have completed all requirements for the letter as long as you have included all necessary information. 

Here is an example of a letter to be used when notifying a creditor of a loved one's passing.

Dear [Name of Credit Bureau],

I'm writing to let you know that [Name] passed away. I ask that [his/her] file be updated with a formal death notice. [Name] lived at [address] and went by the full name [Full Name]. His or her birthday was on [date], and [his or her] SSN was [Number].

[Name] passed away on [date]. The death certificate is attached to this request.

I am the [relationship to relative] of the deceased, and my name is [Your Full Name]. I am the [executor/administrator] of [his/her]. 

I've provided documentation attesting to our relationship.

I appreciate you helping me. My email address is [email] and my phone number is [number]. If you need any additional information, kindly let me know.

(Your Name)


Notifying Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion of a Death

Sending a "death notice" is a good approach to stop identity theft. The credit bureaus must get this for them to stop extending credit to your loved one. 

In essence, it's a method of freezing credit. To appropriately submit a death notice, adhere to the instructions below.

1. Get the death certificate first.

The death certificate for your loved one must first be obtained. To confirm that your loved one has truly gone away, the bureau demands a death certificate to be submitted with the death notice.

Within a few weeks of your loved one's passing, you will receive the death certificate, but you can also obtain one from your neighborhood courthouse, the town or city clerk where the decedent lived, or the state's vital records office. 

Having many certified copies of the death certificate is generally a good idea.

2. Call the organizations.

Call the organization first before sending a formal written request. Why does this when a written notification has already been sent? 

The primary cause is the speed at which crooks operate.

They may launch their own fraud scheme in as little as a day. 

The quickest course of action in the meantime is to call. Notably, only one agency has to be contacted. They inform the others and let them know.

3. Forward a notification of death

Certified mail is the formal method for notifying the credit bureaus of a death. You must mention the following in your letter:
  • a certified copy of the aforementioned death certificate
  • Proof that you have the deceased's consent to act
  • Information on the dead, including their complete legal name, Social Security number, birth date, and date of death

You do not need to provide evidence that you have the dead person's consent to act if you are the surviving spouse. 

If not, you'll need to provide proof that you are the estate's executor or an administrator. After you open the estate, the probate court will issue an appointment or letters testamentary.

You should provide all the necessary details in your letter. To guarantee that it is delivered securely, it should be sent by certified mail. After then, wait for the credit agency's approval. This can take a few weeks.

There is an online submission form for death notifications for some credit bureaus. Death certificates and other relevant documents can be uploaded through an online portal provided by Experian. 

No matter what method you choose, make sure you provide all the required documents.

4. Obtain credit reports.

Asking for a copy of your loved one's credit report is another wise move. This makes it easier to determine which debtors the deceased had at the time of death. 

Since not every service reports to all three national credit agencies, request credit reports from each one separately.

These creditors must be informed of your loved one's passing by the executor or administrator of the estate. This is another way to find out if there is any outstanding credit card debt.

After receiving full payment, the service providers will close the accounts, securing them against fraud. Once more, you might be required to present documentation attesting to your loved one's demise and your right to act in their place.

5. Send all mail forward

Last but not least, be sure to take action to stop any further debts from being incurred in your loved one's name. 

As was previously mentioned, it's typical for criminals to search for mail to find vital information about the deceased. 

Send all mail to the estate administrator or executor or your probate lawyer to avoid this. Do not allow your mail to accumulate as this poses a serious risk.

6. Delete every account

Finally, cancel any bank accounts, debit accounts, utilities, and social media accounts. 

The idea here is to make it as difficult as possible for your loved one’s information to be exposed to scammers. 

Make a list of all the accounts that need action. 

In addition to alerting the credit reporting agencies, cancel these accounts using the identical notification letter.

After Death, What Happens to Credit?

You may be wondering what happens to your credit after death after going through all of these stages. 

You may be shocked to find that after receiving your letter, credit bureaus don't instantly delete a credit file. Instead, they mark the account with a "death indication." This indicates that there is a particular notice stating the deceased's passing.

In reality, credit bureaus maintain the credit file to guard against theft. The lender would be more likely to approve the application if they had nothing to report (such as no credit file). 

Instead, any accounts that make credit applications after passing away are flagged by the credit agencies.

A credit report contains information for up to seven years. That indicates that over seven years, each account and mark will gradually disappear. 

The file is kept with each bureau up until that point as a fraud prevention measure. 

This is why it's so crucial that the family informs the appropriate authorities that a loved one has passed away. If not, there is a risk with your loved one's file.

Protect the Credit of Those You Love

After a death, many family members have trouble recalling their loved one's accomplishments. Although it's probably the last thing on one's mind, making the effort is worthwhile.

Regrettably, fraud is such a pervasive issue today. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to safeguard your loved one's credit even after their passing.

To establish your relative's credit, follow the above-mentioned steps and use the sample letter above. It's time to administer your loved one's estate after the funeral. Taking care of their credit is necessary to prevent identity theft.


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