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Protecting Your Identity Even After Death

 Posted on June 13, 2013 in Beneficiaries

The Internet puts knowledge at the tips of your fingers. But unfortunately it also allows thieves to gain access to Social Security numbers and other private information. But in recent years, this practice does not only target the living, but the deceased have become the preferred victims.

The thieves gain access to this information from obituary notices and other files online. Some reports confirmed that for as little as ten dollars, anyone can buy the Social Security number of a departed person. With that info, they can apply for loans, collect tax refunds, open up credit cards, and other things which require a Social Security number. Current research suggests that each year 2.5 million deceased individuals have their identities stolen.

There are tips to protect your family as part of your estate plan, which can be provided to the executor of your will. The first step is to limit the information which is included on the obituary. Without date of birth, middle name, address, or other information, it will considerably harder to steal the deceased's financial information.

Another piece of advice is to notify credit reporting bureaus, banks, and other government agencies about the passing of a loved one. Mailing an official death certificate to all financial institutions can stop thieves from receiving new lines of credit of a deceased person. Another good idea is to cancel the driver's license and to put the deceased person on the "Do Not Call" list.

It will be important to locate and protect financial documents that are left behind by the deceased. This can include ID cards in wallets or purses, old hospital records, or bank statements. Also be aware of information that may be saved on computers before reusing them or getting rid of them.

If you have any other questions about protecting yourself or providing for your family members after you can't anymore, then please contact an experienced estate planning attorney in Wheaton today.

image courtesy of digitalart /

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