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Sample Letter to Creditors After Death

When a family member passes away, there are always a lot of details that need to be addressed. In addition to mourning your loved one, you might also have to endure aggressive collection efforts by creditors, as well as identity thieves.

Sadly, if a death isn't reported as soon as possible, criminals have more of a chance to open credit card accounts or use a social security number in a fraudulent way. Contacting the Social Security Administration can help keep this at a minimum, as they can prevent new accounts from being opened with a deceased's social security number, as well as provide any eligible benefits to survivors.

By notifying creditors at the time of a family member's passing, any issues with bill payments can also be addressed without delay.

What to Include in the Letter

The purpose of your letter is to request that a formal death notice be added to the credit file of the deceased. Be sure to include a copy of your family member's death certificate with your letter. Also, a legal document stating your authority as the deceased executor needs to be with this letter as well.

Your relative's full name, social security number, date of birth and account number (if applicable) should be clearly stated in your letter, too. Before signing off, don't forget to add your contact information in case there are any questions about the particular account.

Preparing the Letter

The letter should be sent via certified/return receipt through the U.S. mail. This method will ensure that you have a record of correspondence with your relative's creditors. It will help fight any scams that might be created in the deceased family member's name.

Some Debts Remain After Death

If a married couple applies for a credit card or other line of credit jointly and one passes away, the surviving spouse is typically still responsible for the debt. In some states that recognize "community property", a widow or widower may still be responsible for the deceased spouse's debts, even if the survivor's name is not on the account.

And in situations where the surviving spouse is in no way legally responsible for repaying the deceased's debts, creditors and collection agencies may continue to hound them for payment.

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