Question: I have Power Of Attorney of my mother and she has died. How to I close her credit card accounts?
Answer from Tonia Boterf, The Practical Expert: Here are the key elements to be aware of to close the credit card accounts and a bit of my beliefs did creep in:
1. The Power of attorney ends at the person’s death. You must be executor of the Will to be able to close the credit card accounts.
2. Just cutting up credit cards is not enough, the account is still open. If there is a balance due, pay it out of the estate.
3. You must contact the credit card company directly to find out their closing of the account due to death policy. Some will make you complete a form, some will require an orginal or a copy of the certificate (at death always get 20 death certificates because you will need them and even several years later you will likely need one).
Ask for confirmation that the account has been closed and be prepared that it takes alot of time for some. Keep all documentation for many years.
Hint: check to see if there was fraud protection or other types of programs associated on the card – you may to cancel them individually. The Credit Card company can let you know this information.
4. It is important to talk with the credit card compnay too about amount due. It is not uncommon that payments have been missed and interest adding up. By talking to the company, they will likely agree to a lessor amount – usually the amount owed at death which saves.
5. Check to see if the credit card was in the seniors name only or joint with another person or spouse. This can complicate things but needs to be discussed with the joint holder and the credit card company.
Personal Belief: I do not believe in not paying off the credit cards or left over bills. I belive that is unethical and just plain wrong. That is stealing and any funds beyond burial costs are to pay bills. Only when everything owed is paid, then that amount left is the inheritance.