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Don't forget your loved one's credit reports after their death

If you're the executor of a loved one's estate, one of your responsibilities is to deal with their financial products, including bank accounts, credit cards and loans. You will likely close their accounts, cancel their credit cards and pay off any balances on those cards as well as on their loans and lines of credit.

It's also essential to notify the credit bureaus of your loved one's death. These bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, will need to seal the deceased's credit reports and place a death notice on them. A death notice helps prevents someone from illegally using that person's information to apply for credit.

It's also wise to get a copy of your loved one's credit report from each of these agencies. This can help you ensure that you've taken care of all accounts and loans in their name. Even accounts that have zero balances need to be closed (assuming that there's not someone else, like a spouse, on the account who is still alive and may need to use it).

The three credit bureaus may vary somewhat in their requirements for sealing the credit report and issuing you a copy of it. Generally, you'll need to have the following information for the deceased:

  • Social Security number
  • Birth and death dates
  • Full legal name
  • Copy of the death certificate

Copies of other documents may be required as well. You'll also need to provide them with your name, a government-issued ID and your address. If you have to send copies of any documents, make sure that you do so in a way that gives you proof that they've received them, such as certified mail.

An attorney can help you handle these important estate administration tasks. They can also assist you if you have any questions or concerns as you close out your loved one's accounts.

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