How Do Executors Deal with Credit Concerns?

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Executors will find credit reports helpful in their roles.

You have been named as an executor.

Your friend or family member has passed away.

You know your duties will begin soon.

What should you do?

According to a recent credit.com article titled “Dealing with a Credit Report for the Deceased,” one of the first things you should do is obtain a credit report for the decedent.

Executors should understand the credit situation of the decedent.
Executors should takes steps to protect against credit fraud.

Why?

The credit report will help you protect against anyone who would target the decedent for credit card fraud or identity theft.

The process for obtaining a credit report for a decedent will be different than it would be for a living person.

Were the decedent “alive,” then you would need his or her permission and Social Security number, date of birth, and name.

What if you are an executor and the decedent is, well, deceased?

First, his or her last will must be filed with the probate court.

Once that has been done, contact the “big three” credit bureaus to inform each of the decedent’s passing.

These three credit bureaus are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

The letter you write should include the name of the decedent, his or her Social Security number, and last known address.

Why do this?

It keeps anyone nefarious from opening a credit card account using the name of the decedent.

Once you have secured the account, you can work as the executor to obtain the report.

What do you need to obtain it?

You need to provide proof of being named the executor and “letters testamentary” from the probate court.

You will also need a official copy of the death certificate.

You should request several copies of these documents as you will need them as an executor of the estate.

What should you do when you have the reports?

Review them.

Look for inaccuracies

As the executor it is your job to note any open accounts or debts to be paid, before distributing the inheritance.

Check to see if of these open accounts are fraudulent.

If the debts are real, you need will need to pay them from the estate first before heirs can receive an inheritance.

However, do not pay any debts without first getting the okay from the attorney you retained to assist you.

There is a hierarchy in which debts are to be paid and you do not want to run afoul of that protocol.

After all, it is your job as the executor to take care of the estate of your friend or family member after he or she died.

If you are organized, you can save yourself both time and energy.

Reference: credit.com (Aug. 27, 2019) “Dealing with a Credit Report for the Deceased.”