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Protecting Your Deceased Loved One From The Risk of Identity Theft

The grief of losing a loved one is a very tumultuous and heartbreaking experience for everyone involved. Unfortunately, in the world that we live in, some people disregard this pain entirely and are willing to capitalize on the identity of the deceased. Frequently, individuals engage in such behaviour because they are trying to escape past convictions or outstanding debts. Even after your loved one dies, it is imperative to keep his or her identity safe to avoid the possibility of identity theft. Here are a few steps you can take to secure the identity of your loved one:

Never Disclose Sensitive Information

Thieves can be very crafty in how they conduct their crime and often use publicly known information from social media accounts to gain access to private knowledge. Contact the social media platforms and inform them that a user on their platform has passed away, and that should effectively lock their account or remove it.

Advise Financial Organizations / Government Organizations

The chances are that your loved one has ties with multiple corporations involving financial interactions, which can include banks, credit unions, insurance companies or investment companies, and they all must be notified about the passing of your loved one. Begin with giving them a phone call and make sure you send them proof of death. Ensure that you are keeping documentation about which organizations you’ve reached out to, the date on which you contacted them, and the representative with whom you were in contact. Other relevant documents such as drivers licenses, passports, or social insurance numbers should be handled with extreme caution. Inform government institutions about the death of your relative, and they should effectively make all existing documents null and void.

Routinely Check On Your Loved One’s Credit/ Bank Statements.

Often, identity theft of a deceased person can go unnoticed because there is nobody routinely checking his or her banking and credit statements. This form of theft, often referred to as “ghosting,” can occur for a year or longer before any indication of robbery has taken place. Therefore, it is imperative to check these statements for months after your loved one has passed, and report any suspicious activity to the police.

Stealing the identity of a dead person is a lucrative idea for thieves because they predict that not everyone has taken the necessary precaution to protect their identity from future attacks. When a loved one passes away, family members will try their best to secure all critical certificates and documents from falling into the wrong hands, but cannot guarantee that security. It is important to concern yourself with the protection of yourand your family's private information immediately to save you from dealing with this heinous crime.

5 Steps to Being an Executor for a Will

When a death happens in the family, it can be an especially stressful time. However, an executor can make the process easier by carrying out the final instructions in the will left by your loved one. If you’re the executor of a will, you’ve been left with a lot of responsibility. Here are the five steps to be an executor.

Retrieve the Will
As executor, your responsibility is to ensure that the deceased loved one’s final wishes are arranged. It’s important that nothing is assumed, and that every decision is made from the will itself. In most cases, the will-maker will either keep their will at home in a safety deposit box or perhaps with the lawyer who drafted said will.

Once you retrieve the will you will be able to find information such as whether you need to probate the will and what instructions there are for organ donation, burial and funeral arrangements. These instructions will make the process much easier.

Protecting Assets
It’s important that you keep all assets safe and properly insured. This can include a wide variety of items such as jewellery, cash and more. It is also your responsibility to ensure that the deceased one’s home is locked up and supervised as there will be no one living in it.

A good idea is to call the deceased’s banks and cancel any credit cards right away. It may also be a good idea to forward the deceased’s mail to somewhere where you can easily access it in order to ensure that nothing gets missed.

Arrange the Funeral
As the executor, it is your responsibility to arrange the funeral plans as well as pay the funeral expenses. It’s important to know that there will be many decisions that need to be made in a short time, such as whether the deceased will be buried or cremated. If the deceased has pre planned their funeral, much of the stress will be alleviated.

Deal with Debts
When you are the executor, many of the debts will be transferred to your name. As the executor, you will have access to the deceased’s funds and can pay off the expenses. It’s important that this is dealt with in a timely manner, as those debts are now in your name. It’s also important that you make sure that you know of all debts that will be transferred to your name, as surprise debt may add more financial stress.

Distribute the Estate
Lastly, distribute the estate. Once all debts have been settled and the funeral has taken place, it is now time to distribute the estate. It’s important to note that there may be factors at play that prevent you from distributing the estate right away, and it is also important to note that the will can be challenged by the deceased’s spouse or children.

When distributing the estate, the assets will first make their way to you and then it is your responsibility to distribute those assets to the beneficiary. If there is anything else remaining after you distribute the gifts, divide what remains as the will states. Often the will states that the items should be divided equally to the deceased one’s children, for example.

Being an executor means that you will have responsibility for the deceased’s possessions. While this may feel overwhelming, remember that you are the executor because you are highly regarded as responsible, and that people have faith in you to manage this difficult task. If you find the task too difficult to manage alone, there is professional assistance that can help you through the process.