DISCOVER
×

How to stop mail when someone dies

Updated July 20, 2017

Dealing with grief is difficult when someone dies. However, as anyone who has lost someone knows, there are a lot of practical and logistical tasks associated with settling the deceased person's affairs. These include stopping delivery of mail to the person, which can be done by a trusted relative or friend fairly easily.

Forward current mail. If the deceased person lived alone, it is best to have their mail forwarded to the address of an estate caretaker who is willing to sort through and see which organisations and businesses need to be contacted. This can easily be done by going to the U.S. Postal Service web site, which has directions for handling mail after someone dies (http://www.usps.com/receive/deceasedpersonsmail/deceased-persons.htm?from=receiveyourmail&page=mailfordeceasedpersons). If the deceased is survived by a spouse or someone else that was living with them, that person can take charge of contacting anyone who regularly sends them mail.

Add the person in question to the "Deceased Do Not Contact Registration" list managed by the Direct Marketing Association. Go to https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc.php.

Make a list. Go through the deceased person's current or most recent mail and make a comprehensive list of all of the people the person was doing business with and/or receiving mail from. This likely will include banks, utility companies, insurance companies credit card companies, utility companies and magazine publishers.

Start making phone calls. Call all of the organisations on the list to inform them that the person is deceased and will no longer be doing business with them. In some cases, this may be done online. In the case of a bank or credit card company, you may have to transfer open accounts to someone else's name in order to receive the necessary correspondence to close an active account.

Tip

Be thorough and patient. Even if you think you have contacted everyone, mail addressed to the deceased person may still arrive months after he or she has passed away. Try to deal with ending mail delivery as soon as possible. It will be one less task you have to deal with down the road. It can also be a useful distraction when you are still in the early stages of coping with the loss.

Warning

This can be an emotionally painful process for someone who was particularly close to the deceased person. Be prepared for the feelings of grief and loss you may experience. When going through the deceased's mail, you may discover private information about them which you were not aware of. Be prepared for something unexpected and try to keep an open mind.

Things You'll Need

  • Deceased person's mail
  • Internet connection
  • Telephone
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Elizabeth Montalbano has been a professional journalist for more than 12 years. She specializes as a freelance business, technology and culture writer. Her work has appeared in CNNMoney.com, the "Phoenix New Times," the "SF Weekly," "The New York Times," "PCWorld," "Computerworld," "MacWorld," "The Industry Standard" and the "Arizona Republic," among many other publications. Montalbano also writes poetry, short stories and personal essays.