Estate Shredding in Virginia, DC & Maryland
Managing the estate of a family member or close friend who has passed away often happens while you are grieving. And rarely is it an easy job. Not only are stress and emotions running high, but estates, even small ones, typically have a lot of paperwork to be sorted. It can be difficult to determine what needs to be kept, what should be given to another family member, and what can be shredded.
If you need assistance shredding items during an estate liquidation, please call TrueShred at 888-322-3218 or contact us online.
Papers to Locate and Keep When Liquidating or Managing an Estate
Many of these are obvious, but it’s best to have a comprehensive list, as estates can be complicated.
- Will (if it hasn’t already been located and processed)
- Birth, marriage, and divorce certificates
- Birth certificates and/or adoption papers for minor children, if any
- Social Security information
- Life insurance documents
- Other current insurance paperwork
- Mortgages and deeds
- Car titles
- Any bills that still need to be paid
- Credit cards and statements
- Tax returns from the previous two years
- Any paperwork regarding investment accounts; IRAs, 401(k) plans, mutual funds, and the like
- The deceased’s most recent bank statements (including those for CDs and money-market accounts)
- Paperwork and contact information for any agency from which the deceased may have been receiving benefits, such as a pension, disability, etc.
- Diplomas, education records, military service records; these items may not be necessary for any official purpose, but family members often like to hold on to them
- Account numbers for utilities and other accounts in the deceased’s name
- Any manuals or instructions for items that may be sold or given away
- Paperwork or manuals for the home’s HVAC system and appliances, if applicable
There may be many other records you need to keep, depending on the specific circumstances of the deceased.
Avoid Identify Theft After Death
Unfortunately, it has become increasingly necessary to guard against thieves desperate to steal the identity of deceased persons. This is why estate shredding is a critical component of the estate handling process.
Here are a few steps you can take to prevent identity theft of a loved one who has passed.
- Send official copies of the death certificate to any entity or organization with which the deceased had a financial obligation or relationship. This helps keep criminals from using open accounts to assume the identities of deceased people.
- Cancel the deceased’s driver’s license or state-issued identification card with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
- Have the deceased’s name removed from direct mail lists. Contact the Direct Marketing Association’s consumer division.
- Be cautious when writing the obituary. Unfortunately, thieves are known to scan obituaries to find birth dates, maiden names, addresses, and other information they can use.
- Don’t share information on social media. This is a tough one, as we’ve all become accustomed to sharing the meaningful events of our lives on Facebook and other sites. However, social media is another place where unscrupulous individuals try to glean information about people who have passed in order to gain access to their identities.
- Even with family members, keep information on a need-to-know basis. Sadly, identity theft is often perpetrated by relatives of the deceased. There is no need to share personal or financial information with any person who doesn’t need to know for a specific, legitimate reason.
- Keep all personal papers, including death certificates, secure. Again, assume the worst; act as if identity thieves are lurking around every corner. Lock up any records or papers with the deceased’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
- Destroy any papers or records you don’t need to keep. Dumpsters can be treasure troves for identity thieves. Shred everything you aren’t holding on to.
Managing Estates Effectively: Take Precautions
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by the responsibility of finalizing an estate, find someone to help. There are many agencies that specialize in this kind of assistance. And be sure to take the identity-protection precautions listed above.
When you need shredding service for estate papers, please call TrueShred at 888-322-3218.
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