By now most people are aware of the necessity to exercise diligence to prevent identity theft. People know to check their credit statements and how to look out for irregularities. However, when you pass away, you can no longer do that. Identity thieves are now exploiting this to steal the identities of the recently deceased.
Protecting against identity theft is a tedious, but not entirely complex process. You need to monitor your bank statements, credit card statements and your credit rating to make sure that someone else is not using your name and social security number to assume your identity.
When you pass away, for a time, there might not be anyone who is doing that for you. In fact, it might be some months before the necessary entities know that you have passed away.
In the case of the Social Security Administration, they might not know that you have passed away for years.
As recently reported in the Huffington Post, this has led to a new phenomenon of identity thieves specifically targeting the recently deceased. The article is titled “The New Grave Robbers: Identity Thieves.”
As the article explains, you need to make protection against identity thieves a part of your estate plan. The single best way to do this is to include a check list for your executor or personal representative about what needs to be monitored and what entities need to be notified of your death.
Doing this can spare your estate a lot of problems.
If you have been a victim of identity theft, you know how difficult it can be to set things right while you are alive. It is even more difficult for an estate administrator to do.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney. He or she can help you think through all of these contingencies.
Reference: Huffington Post (March 19, 2015) “The New Grave Robbers: Identity Thieves.”