Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario From Steve Shane 2.26.14

Estate PlanningQuestion: What do I do with credit cards in my mother’s name (my mother passed away a few weeks ago)? Answer:  In this day in age of identity theft, it is essential that all credit cards, PayPal and other electronic accounts be closed as soon as possible after the death of the account holder (I believe PayPal requires a letter and death certificate to close the account).  Identity thieves have been known to hack customer data sites of large retailers and cross referencing them with newspaper obituaries to find names of customers who have recently died).  They can then use the credit card accounts to make online purchases without anyone learning about the charges until well after the goods have been delivered.  The fraud alert function might then be trying to alert someone who is no longer around to take the call! Credit cards, PayPal, etc. should be closed by calling them and asking for instructions, including the necessary documentation. credit-cardsComment:  Passwords and other types of digital information should be made available to your surviving family members.  I wrote about this in a previous weekly scenario by suggesting that a death ‘memo’ of sorts be written to accompany the estate documents.  It will make your survivors lives easier if this type of information (passwords, PINs, etc.) can be accessed readily after death if necessary. As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more please let me know. Steven E. Shane, Principal  Offit Kurman Attorneys At Law 301.575.0313  Washington/Baltimore 410.218.9339  Mobile 301.575.0335  Facsimile