Conscientious Estate Planning For Oregonians

What can you do now to prevent identity theft after you’re gone?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | Estate Planning

As a responsible person, you take steps to guard against identity theft. You don’t give financial or personal information to people you don’t know, you use passwords that can’t be guessed and much more. 

As you prepare to put your estate plan in place, you need to take steps to avoid becoming the victim of identity theft after you’re gone. This can help prevent having assets lost that you intend for your loved ones and others to have.

Unfortunately, there’s big money in stealing newly deceased people’s identities. The people who do this (sometimes known as “ghosters”) take advantage of the fact that surviving family members are grieving, possibly in shock and struggling with a multitude of responsibilities. 

Having a thorough, well-written estate plan can make things a bit easier on your loved ones, which in itself can help them prevent identity theft and other kinds of fraud. There’s more you can do, however. Let’s look at just two examples of ways to help those administering your estate.

Be sure they notify the necessary parties as soon as possible

Make a list of all of your accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, loans with contact information so that they can notify them of your death. This is especially critical if yours is the sole name on them. Generally, the accounts will then be frozen. This helps prevent fraudulent activity.

You should also make a list of entities that provide you with benefits, such as Social Security, the VA and Medicaid. This helps prevent benefits from ending up in the wrong hands.

Be sure they can access the necessary information

Of course, these lists need to be in a secure location on your computer or elsewhere. It’s just as crucial to be sure your designated executor and an alternate, if you have one, can locate them. That’s why it’s critical that they either have or know where to locate your passwords and other log-in information.

They should also know where to locate your estate plan, your IDs (driver’s license, passport, Medicare card, etc.) and other personal and financial documents, including checkbooks, and make sure that they’re locked up so that no one can access them. One piece of identification in the wrong hands can do a lot of financial damage quickly.

Having estate planning guidance can help you do more than create a solid estate plan. It can help you prevent your estate and your loved ones from being victimized by ghosters.