Personal Finance 

Notify Credit Bureaus of Death

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Reader Kim emailed me a few weeks ago with a question I’ve, thanksfully, never had to deal with. Following the death of her mother, she was wondering if she should report her death to the credit bureaus. She’s already paid off and closed all credit accounts and by all accounts things are “settled.” Her lawyer didn’t know the answer so she thought maybe I did! (ha!)

My gut reaction is that you should notify them, and any other similar organizations, to prevent identity theft and fraud. By placing a “deceased alert” on your credit report, any potential creditors or lenders will learn, upon pulling the report, that the person is deceased and should not be extended credit (only relatives of the deceased can request this). I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to do this.

How to Submit a Deceased Alert

You will need to write a letter that includes:

  • Language notifying the bureau that the person referenced is deceased and that a deceased alert be placed on the report.
  • Decedent’s full name
  • Social Security Number
  • Recent Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Date of Death
  • Copy of the death certificate

Mail this request by certified mail with return receipt requested to each of the credit bureaus’ addresses below:
Equifax Information Services LLC
Office of Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box 150139
Atlanta, GA 30348

PO Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013

PO Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834

It’s a difficult time to begin with, don’t make it harder by introducing identity theft!

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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11 Responses to “Notify Credit Bureaus of Death”

  1. DJ says:

    You know that is really good information. I work at a large public university, and unfortunately we have multiple student deaths every semester. It is always vitally important to protect the families of the deceased by closing off all of their accounts and making sure that proper documentation is in place. It prevents a lot of heartache later and avoid the terrible phone call when a school representative calls to check in on the deceased.

  2. Shirley says:

    This is something that never crossed my mind. Thank you and Kim for the heads-up!

    I have copied the info and will add it to the “In Case Of” folder where it will be easily found.

  3. skylog says:

    i lost my grandfather, my dad his father, a couple of years ago. we are still dealing with a lot of what he left behind. his financial affairs were not nearly in the order they “appeared” to be.

    despite the loss, and the difficulty in dealing with some of left-behind problems, a lot of good has come from dealing with it all. my father and i have talked about the future with regards to either of us passing and planned accordingly.

  4. eric says:

    It’s a morbid thought but very, very necessary for a lot of people. Thanks for looking it up.

  5. Holly says:

    I can give you a reason NOT to notify cc/utility companies about a death:

    My hubby passed away in 2003. I called all the cc companies & utilities to remove him/change to me for our cards/bills. Of the about 12 companies 3 CLOSED the account and insisted I reapply and 1 utility DEMANDED a HUGE deposit (6 months avg bill)for an unstated amount of time.

    Needless to say, I no longer have cc w/those companies & I left the utility bill in hubby’s name.

    • govenar says:

      Was your credit score a lot lower than his, due to everything being in his name?

      • Shirley says:

        This can happen quite easily and without much ado. A couple marries, she moves into his home where all the home related bills are in his name. Seldom does anyone think, “Hey, I want my name on those utility (or credit cards) bills too.” even if their name goes on the house title or in the will.

  6. Shirley says:

    Another thought along the same line:
    When my father died all their accounts were in both his and my mother’s names with me as an eligible signer. When my mother died a year later, we were obligated to send her SS check for the month she died back. It had been direct-deposited into her checking account and so needed to be sent from the bank, not by me with a personal check from that account (which could have easily been done).

    In order to do this the bank wanted a copy of her death certificate and upon receiving it, closed the account because I was a signer, but not an owner. Two months later there came a check from one of Dad’s newly discovered small investment accounts and it was written to her. The company would not re-issue the check in my or my brother’s name. There was no account to deposit it in. They had no estate to be disbursed.

    Hindsight: I should have made sure I was also an owner on that account before the last parent died.

  7. Guest says:

    Thank you. My dad’s sister decided NOT to become Personal Representative after it was discovered he left 100% of everything to me. My dad had a “friend” “on” his checking account to help him pay his bills (he was in FL & aunt in IL; I am in CA). Money from his checking account was supposed to help pay expenses for setting up probate process. She told me the checking account was “theirs”…and his savings account was gone…his car, etc. Of COURSE she won’t help me. She is doing EVERYTHING in her power to keep me away, and because I am disabled & have a daughter, I can’t afford to just shell out about $1500. I am waiting for insurance payments to help me financially. In the meantime, she ticked me off so I Googled her. SHE IS A CONVICTED FELON…GRAND THEFT OVER $100,000 AND DID PRISON TIME. SHE IS ON PROBATION UNTIL 2017. I informed my aunt who thought this woman hung the moon. I will be contacting the credit reporting agencies as soon as I can.

  8. sally says:

    You give different addresses from those listed on other sites. Not good.

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