When a loved one passes away, it may fall on you to take care of her finances. Fortunately, notifying credit card companies of a death is not a complicated matter. It will take just a little time and effort. Doing this swiftly after a death occurs ensures that calls form debt collectors won’t hound survivors when credit card companies stop receiving payments.
You will need to prove to credit card companies that you are a legitimate representative of the deceased and the person is actually dead. Aside from having his personal information handy, including date of birth and Social Security number, you will need a copy of the death certificate. If you’re the executor of the deceased’s estate, you’ll also need an appointment form from the probate court.
Make a list of all the deceased’s credit card companies. You can do this by going through the cards in his wallet or perusing copies of old bills. Find the customer service telephone numbers for all cards and call each company to notify them by phone. Many credit card companies offer death benefits, such as cancellation of debt; inquire about these while on the phone.
Each card provider will likely ask you to mail or fax a copy of the death certificate. With the proof of death, include a letter reiterating what you told the customer service representatives on the phone. Put the deceased’s account number in the letter to avoid confusion. Include your own contact information in case the credit card companies need anything else from you. Send everything certified mail.
The last thing you may feel like doing after losing a loved one is dealing with his finances. However, notifying credit card companies as soon as possible is important to prevent identity theft. Until credit card companies have notification of the death, identity thieves can rack up charges on existing cards or open new ones using the deceased’s Social Security number. Also, be aware that credit card companies sometimes go after a deceased’s estate to satisfy the debts, so the death notification may not be the last time you have to deal with them.
Cynthia Gomez has been writing and editing professionally for more than a decade. She is currently an editor at a major publishing company, where she works on various trade journals. Gomez also spent many years working as a newspaper reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northeastern University.