Between utility bills, Netflix and Spotify subscriptions, and automatic services, many people have more recurring payments than they realize. But what happens to those services when a loved one passes away?
When you’re already processing grief and coming to terms with a loved one’s death, it can be a challenge to deal with loose ends like these. Here’s a quick guide.
Utilities are sometimes more of a challenge to cancel than other types of bills. In most cases, you will need an account number for each service you’re going to cancel. That number should be on a utility bill. Depending on the arrangement the deceased had with the utility company, bills may have been mailed, sent via email, or both.
You have a few different options when dealing with utilities:
- Leave Them in the Loved One’s Name: Some people prefer to leave utilities in the deceased’s name as they work out issues related to the estate, but make sure you ask the utility company about this first
- Transfer Them: If someone lived with the deceased and will continue to live there, the utilities will likely need to be put in their name
- Turn Them Off: In some cases, this is an option, but keep in mind that if the house is being sold, it’s generally best to leave the utilities on until the sale closes
If you are having trouble locating account numbers, reach out to the utility company. If you explain the situation and can verify your relationship with the deceased, the company might be able to help.
In most cases, a person’s cell phone bill is separate from their other utility bills. You can usually cancel the phone plan by contacting the service provider. However, bear in mind that there may be data on the phone that you need to access — make sure you have gotten all you need before canceling!
If your loved one paid for a family plan (like the ones offered by Netflix and some similar services), you may be able to talk to the company about transferring ownership. But in most cases, the deceased’s digital subscription accounts can be canceled easily.
Keep in mind that some digital subscriptions also involve mailing items. For instance, if there is an Amazon account in the deceased’s name, check to see if any items have been set to auto-deliver at regular intervals. Closing the account will stop the deliveries.
Many people have several different subscriptions, and it’s possible the deceased has a few subscriptions you aren’t aware of. If your loved one was a planner, they may have included a list of their accounts and subscriptions and login information.
If they didn’t leave you a list like this, there’s no need to worry. Look closely at your loved one’s bank and credit card statements to see if they are still being billed for subscriptions.
Email is a great resource as well — most companies will send periodic emails to their subscribers. And if your loved one hasn’t deleted old emails, they may still have the “welcome” email from the company or service.
Don’t Navigate Loss Alone
If you’re in Louisville, Bowling Green, or Cincinnati and are struggling with the death of a loved one, The Law Offices of Shaw & Nelson, PLLC may be able to help. Our attorneys are familiar with elder law and can walk you through the steps you must take in the wake of a loved one’s passing. Reach out to us and schedule your consultation today.