Checking the mail is part of the daily routine of millions of Americans, and while you might receive more promotional coupons than important documents, that doesn’t mean that important documents won’t still be arriving in your mailbox after death. What will happen to your mail after you are no longer here to receive it? Who is in charge of notifying the post office? Who can have access to your mail legally?

Once a Loved One Passes Away, What Should Be Done?

The United States Postal Service has established guidelines for what should be done after someone has passed away. It’s important to act quickly to avoid mail piling up outside the home and leading to a security risk due to the home or apartment appearing abandoned.

Any person who has the authority to handle the affairs of the deceased person is known as the Personal Representative for the estate. They are named in the will or established by the probate court and known as the executor. The executor is in charge of handling financial and legal matters for the deceased person. It’s important to note that, if there is a trust in place, the trustee may also handle the affairs of the decedent.

When approaching the post office, you should ensure that you have documentation showing that you are a legally valid representative of the deceased person and that they are deceased. Mail can be forwarded to another address for up to one year, so action should be taken over time to cancel things like magazine subscriptions, notify financial institutions and make any other relevant companies aware.

The Direct Marketing Association has a Deceased Do Not Contact list where your loved one can be added. This list ensures that, within three months of the notification sent to the DMA, the amount of marketing and advertising material sent with the name of the deceased will dramatically decrease.

Make sure that you are working with the appropriate estate attorney to make sure that you are properly responding to notifications that you receive. Some documents will need to be kept for the estate administration process or taxes. Miles Tax Advisory is here to help if you are unsure whether or not documents could be relevant.

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