Whether you help care for an elderly parent or other aging loved one, you probably have a lot of tasks and obligations on your mind. Many families share the workload of taking an older family member to doctors’ appointments, preparing meals, and helping with bathing, feeding, and other daily tasks. Protecting your older loved one is a full-time job that requires time, patience, and effort.
With all these tasks, you may be overlooking one very important area of your older loved one’s life – his or her identity. Unfortunately, identity theft among the elderly is a growing problem. Furthermore, many identity thieves target individuals who have recently passed away.
Despite the prevalence of identity theft among the aging, there are several things you can do to protect your older loved one.
Close Accounts after Death
After an older loved one’s death, it is important to close all bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts. If these accounts remain open, identity thieves can obtain statements, replacement cards, and other information that helps them access and misuse an account. If your elderly loved one is still living, you should keep a close eye on his or her mail. Frequent offers of credit cards or unusual billing statements can signify someone has been scammed.
Notify Creditors and Financial Institutions Directly
If an elderly loved one has died, it is important to be very thorough when notifying creditors, banks, and other financial institutions about the death. Many people notify the major credit reporting bureaus and assume the credit bureaus will pass along the information. It is better to notify all creditors, banks, and other financial institutions directly.
Dispose of Identification Cards Properly
After a loved one has passed away, take care to properly dispose of any official identification documents, such as driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, and passports. Keep other important documents, such as birth certificates and death certificates, in a safe place.
Minnesota Estate Planning and Probate Law Firm
Call the Minnesota probate and estate planning attorneys at Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC today at (651) 968-1457 to learn more and to discuss your case.
This website has been prepared by Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.