topic | gather information, make notifications

Step 5: notify personal, household, and medical accounts

It will be necessary to cancel any unnecessary personal or medical accounts. Personal accounts include anything related directly to the deceased such as health club memberships and subscriptions. Household accounts may include utilities, home services, phone, cable television, and Internet subscriptions. Medical accounts may include a primary care physician, dentist, eye doctor, pharmacy, and insurance carriers. Ensure that needed services are paid or that notification has been given that they cannot be paid.

Activity 1
Gather Information, and Make a List of Accounts

Make a list of accounts.  Accounts, Deposits Deductions, and Dues Subscriptions may contain helpful information. If not, use them as a guide.

Obtain the following for each account:

  • name of account and contact information
  • name on the account
  • account number
  • copy of the death certificate
  • copy of the affidavit

Activity 2
Notify Accounts, and Make Cancelations

Contact critical accounts first. Attend to accounts with overdue balances quickly.

Request information regarding the account including:

  • exact name on the account
  • account number
  • balance and due date
  • payment method (check, debit, direct deposit)
  • passwords for online accounts

Request written verification of the following:

  • account balance
  • verification of the closure of an account - an account cannot be closed until any outstanding balance has been paid. If this is the case, request that the account be frozen.
  • If the name is changed on the account

Best Practices

Always ask for a refund if the account has been prepaid. For example, newspaper subscriptions are often paid through the end of the year, and insurance premiums are paid quarterly.

Determine if an account balance can be canceled. If estate funds are small or non-existent, the account will probably not be paid. If the balance due is low, creditors may be willing to close the account without payment.

Notify all organizations associated with the deceased. This helps to prevent identity theft, reduces junk mail, and provides peace of mind.

Register the deceased with the Direct Marketing Association’s “Deceased Do Not Contact” list at This should stop direct marketing mail.

If there is a surviving spouse, it may be possible to change the name on the accounts. If not, the account should be closed, and a new account should be opened.


(if this Step is complete)
to Step 6

Return to Step 4