After the initial shock and grief of a loved one passing away, the formal business of attending to the affairs of the deceased must begin. The property and assets of the decedent must be put through probate and distributed according to a valid will or, if there is no will, according to the state's succession laws. If the decedent had credit accounts open at the time of death, the agencies must be notified and the accounts must be closed. If the account was in the sole name of the decedent, the debt remains with the decedent and can be satisfied with funds from the estate.
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Pay the debts of the deceased in the order prescribed by the state's probate laws. Credit card debts are usually low on the creditor-repayment totem pole. They are usually paid after administrative costs, funeral costs, medical bills and taxes. If the estate does not have enough assets to pay off each creditor, some creditors may actually lose out. Payment of the deceased's debts will dictate how to word the letter.
Call the credit card company and explain the situation to them. Ask for the address to send the closing-account letter.
Address the letter to the credit card agent responsible for closing accounts of the deceased. Open by explaining that the deceased had an account and that he passed away. Provide the date of death. In the second paragraph, explain whether the account has been paid off or if a balance remains. If a balance remains, explain whether the account will be paid from out of the estate or whether the estate does not have enough money to provide the funds. Close the letter by asking the representative to close the account.
Send the letter to the credit card agency. Enclose a copy of the death certificate. According Creditnet.com, the credit card company should close the account as of the date of death and waive any interest or fees incurred after the date of death.