Deceased Credit Report
How can my credit report be marked Deceased?
How do you handle your parent’s credit, when they pass away?
A good friend of mine called me last week, he told me that his father had passed away. He wanted to make sure that his father’s credit profile was appropriately handled.
I told him that especially if his mom is still with us, it can get tricky. Normally if one of the creditors is notified that one of the borrowers has passed away, the creditor will report back to the repository of the situation quickly.
The repository will immediately change the ECOA indicator to “X” which means deceased. That will lock down the entire credit profile of that individual and sometimes others who held a joint account with the deceased. This is done to try to prevent fraud.
A side effect of that is if there are any accounts that were held joint. The survivor could also be marked with an “X” and the repositories will shut down that credit profile as well.
If you ever hear the funny stories of “my credit report says I’m dead”. It says that because they were a joint account holder on an account with someone who had passed away.
Unfortunately, the repositories are oversensitive to shutting this down because of the opportunity for fraud. Criminals assume the identity of the deceased to buy cars, credit cards and more. Because of all the fraud going on the repositories shut down deceased files fast.
I recommend going through all the credit accounts of the deceased relative, call all of them and make sure that every account is closed down. Or if the account should still be active because of the remaining account holder let them know. Hopefully they will report that correctly. (Trust but verify)
The next move I recommend is to contact all three of the repositories directly and let them know about the deceased individual. Let them know about the surviving spouse or Co-borrower should not be marked deceased. That should save a few headaches down the road and then keep an eye on the credit profile for a year or so. There is a likelihood that the surviving spouse’s accounts will be shut down in error at some point so be aware of that.
That was the fastest growing form of identity that for a while, when people passed away they would steal the deceased identity. Now the repositories lock that down very quickly. They are going after our kid’s identity. Child identity theft is the number one form of identity theft in America right now.
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