What to Look for When Going Through the Mail of a Deceased Person
Published on June 06, 2022
It is common for organizations to continue sending mail to a deceased person's mailbox. As such, you may wish to stop such mail or simply reduce their numbers.
Before then, you should distinguish irrelevant mail from vital information you'll need in the probate process. Although knowing what to keep or discard may be confusing, some preparation and knowledge of the process will make your work easy.
Here's how to go about it.
Forwarding a Deceased Person's Mail
If you've lost a loved one, you may be wondering how you can best handle their mailbox, especially if you are the appointed executor of their estate.
Since it is a federal crime to open any mail that is not intended for you, ensure you first notify the USPS about the death of your loved one so they can institute the process of changing addresses to allow the forwarding of mail to your address. That way, you will legally be able to receive and respond to mail.
How Do You Notify the USPS of the Death?
The process is easy if you are the executor or authorized family member. But, first, visit a local post office branch and make a formal notification.
You can fill out a form to set up a new mailing address for forwarding relevant mail if authorized. If you lived with the deceased, you don't need to fill out a form since you can access the mail directly from the mailing address.
The following documents may come in handy during the mail forwarding process:
Official documentation showing you are the executor or legally authorized to transact on behalf of the deceased
A certified copy of your loved one's death certificate
A copy of your identification document
A legal death notification from the executor of the deceased person's estate
Important Information When Sorting the Mail
Not every piece of information that comes into the mailbox is relevant. As such, you will need to sort them to find vital mail that you will need to retain.
The best approach is to categorize them into different folders to make your work easier.
Key information that you may choose to keep include:
Accounts statements from bank and investment accounts
Mail from insurance companies
Mail requiring payment of outstanding bills
Utility bills; water, electricity, internet, and gas
Checks and payslips from all employers
Mail from friends and other family members
Mail from recurring subscriptions
Stopping Unnecessary Mail
Even after notifying the USPS and forwarding mail to a different address, you may still receive junk mail from different organizations. Luckily, there are various steps you can take to stop receiving unnecessary mail at the forwarding address.
Here's what you should do:
Contact the Data and Marketing Association (DMA)
The DMA keeps a complete list of deceased persons on its database dubbed the "Deceased Do Not Contact List" or DDNC. You can fill out the DDNC registration form to notify the association of the death of your loved one. The association will then ask different organizations to remove the deceased mailing address from their mailing lists. Although the process is slower, you should see a drop in mail within three months.
Contact the Mailing Organizations
As mentioned above, filling out the DDNC form won't guarantee an immediate solution. You may therefore choose to contact all organizations and direct them to stop sending mail.
However, some organizations may require proof of the person's death before taking action. As such, you should bring certified copies of the death certificate, your ID, and a copy of documentation showing you are legally acting on behalf of the deceased.
Contact Local Post Office
This step is ideal if you are the designated executor of the deceased estate. Once you complete the probate process, you will receive a probate order affirming that the deceased estate is settled legally. You can then present the probate order to the local post office branch to stop the mail services.
What If You're Not the Executor?
In some cases, you may have access to your loved one's mail, although you may not be the legal executor of the estate. Most likely, you were the deceased closed friend or shared a mailing address.
The best way forward is to contact the executor and arrange to forward the mails to their address before the probate closing. If the probate is closed, the executor can still request the post office stop the mail.
Getting junk mail from various organizations after the passing of a loved one can be frustrating. That's why sorting mail is essential to eliminate unwanted information. The above tips can make the process easier and help you organize every piece of information logically.
Published on June 06, 2022