Letter to Creditors on the Death of a Spouse
Writing a letter to creditors on the death of a spouse will mean assessing an amount of financial information before writing the actual letter. Credit and loan companies will need to be made aware of the death as soon as possible, and there will be considerations regarding co-signed credit agreements.
Intent of Letter to Creditors after Death of SpouseThe death of a spouse or relative will usually be a time of great emotional upheaval and stress. Finances are usually the last thing on the surviving partner’s mind but they do need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. If there is no executor to deal with the financial issues then the closest relative or next of kin will usually deal with these affairs. Creditors will need to be written to in order make them aware of the death and to close any accounts.
Considerations for Creditor’s LetterOne of the main considerations with letters to creditors after a spouse’s death is whether or not credit agreements were co-signed. If it was the case that a spouse or relative acted as a guarantor or co-signer then the surviving person could be held liable for the remaining debt. This could also be the case with property if there is a mortgage remaining. It may be the case that all debts will be paid from the sale of an estate to cover existing debts. If there are no co-signatures then the letter process will be straightforward.
Gathering the Necessary Creditor InformationInformation that will be needed before the letter writing process begins will include the most recent credit and loan statements. These will be needed for information such as creditor addresses and outstanding balances on the various accounts. These statements can also be checked to verify whether or not there was some form of insurance protection to cover the outstanding debt on the event of death. Bank accounts should be frozen once the death has been registered and no more payments should be made from these accounts.
Creditors and Death CertificatesMost creditors will require a copy of the death certificate as proof before they will close down credit accounts. The original copy of the death certificate should be obtained from the Registrar’s office. Some creditors will accept copies of the certificate and some will only take the original document. Additional copies can be obtained at the Registrar’s office as well as abbreviated originals. In the first instance simply send a copy of the certificate with the letter. If an original is needed then creditors will ask for one.
Standard Letter to Creditors on Death of SpouseThe letter to be sent to creditors does not need to go into great detail. It should contain details such as the account number, the deceased’s name and address, and the date of death. It can also include the outstanding balance. It should also notify the creditors that there are no joint accounts or co-signatures on the account. If there are co-signatures then the credit company will make contact to discuss liability for the remaining debts.
Letter to Multiple CreditorsIf there are a number of creditors then the letter should be a standard template containing the same content in each letter. The only difference to the letter will be the creditor’s address and the account reference number and balance. Using the copy and paste function on a computer to set out each letter (or a mail merge if you know how), will be the simplest way of reproducing multiple copies of the letter. Always keep copies of the original letter to each creditor for future reference.
Sample Letter to Creditors on the Death of a SpouseYour name
Name of creditor
Credit Company Name
Re: Account No:
Notification of Death
This letter is notification that (name of deceased) died on (date of death). I am the surviving spouse and I shall be dealing with any further correspondence on this matter. There were no joint accounts or co-signatures on this account. Please find enclosed a copy of the death certificate.
If you do require further details please contact me at the above telephone number or address.