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From Traditional to Innovative: Blogs About Legal Matters

There have been a few times in my life that I have needed a lawyer, and during those times, their help was invaluable. I worked with lawyers during the custody battle for my kids, when I dissolved the partnership for my business and after I suffered an injury at work. In this blog, I plan to write about the law from a range of angles. I may share posts inspired by my personal experiences, what's popular in the news or what strikes my fancy when I'm writing. I have a daughter, Oliva. I manage a medical clinic, and I love blogging. I hope you like the results. My name is Melinda, and thanks for reading!

From Traditional to Innovative: Blogs About Legal Matters

How to protect deceased estates from identity theft

by Júnia Melo

As the executor to a deceased's estates, you are tasked with administering the deceased estates, repaying debts and taxes, as well as distributing the properties of the estate to the rightful beneficiaries. One of the problems faced by executors is identify theft of the deceased. Identity thieves have no respect for anyone, not even the recently dead. They use the identities of the deceased to deceitfully open credit card accounts and apply for new loans. Most often, these crooks pick up the personal information of the deceased from funeral homes, hospitals or even obituaries. With a name, birthdate and address in hand, they can obtain the individual's social security number and soon are on their way to embezzling funds using the identity of the deceased. So, what can executors do to prevent identity theft? Read on for more insight.

Get a credit freeze

When somebody dies, it may take one to six months for all the relevant credit reporting bureaus to receive notification. This is the period when identity thieves strike. In order to be one step ahead of fraudsters, the executor should immediately apply for a credit freeze on the deceased's credit file. A credit freeze may be temporary as you await for a death certificate. A credit freeze, also referred to as a security freeze, inserts a lock on access to a person's credit file. As a result, no fraudster can open a new account using the deceased's name or apply for new loans. On the other hand, lack of a credit freeze means a person's credit is fully open. Fraudsters can acquire a social security number and access that individual's credit, and with relative ease, begin opening accounts everywhere in his or her name.

Notify the credit agencies

In order to flag the credit accounts of the deceased, the executor should notify the credit agencies in writing. In the notification letter, the executor should include the following particular information:

  • Copy of the deceased's death certificate
  • Proof of executorship

The credit agencies will proceed to flag the credit account as deceased which is simply a lasting credit freeze, meaning no one can give credit to that account.

You should, however, not only depend on credit agencies to spread the message out. Send copies of the death certificate to all institutions where the deceased had a financial affiliation, such as their insurance company, bank account, pension issuer, and social security administration.