Managing someone’s digital assets after death can be challenging. You might have a lengthy list of projects—photos to download, social media accounts to manage, and bank information to confirm. The list of things to close can seem daunting.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Permanently Delete Your PayPal Account
- How to Permanently Delete a PayPal Account for a Deceased Loved One
- Deleting a PayPal Account: FAQs
If your loved one regularly shopped online they also probably had an account with an online payment platform. One of the most popular is PayPal. If you or your loved one had a PayPal account it should be closed after their death to prevent fraudulent activity.
Accounts like these are often targeted by identity thieves. And if they start using the information of your deceased relative or friend, it can be difficult to stop them.
How to Permanently Delete Your PayPal Account
PayPal makes it very easy to delete your account.
Tip: Ensure that your digital assets are taken care of according to your wishes by making a will. You can easily create one from home with an online will maker like Trust & Will.
Log into your account with your password, and the email address associated with it. Then, click Settings. This will lead you to Account Options.
Enter your bank number
Under the Account Options section, click Close Your Account. PayPal might ask you for a bank account number, to confirm your identity. Once you’ve put your information in, click Close Account.
Unless there is an outstanding issue, PayPal closes accounts immediately once the delete request has been made. Make sure closing your PayPal account is what you want to do because you will not be able to reactivate it even if you change your mind.
How to Permanently Delete a PayPal Account for a Deceased Loved One
Deleting someone else’s account is a little more challenging than deleting your own. In our post-loss checklist, we highly recommend you take the time to delete your loved one's accounts. This is especially true for financial accounts like PayPal that hold sensative financial information.
Tip: You can continue a loved one's digital legacy with a virtual memorial on a platform like GatheringUs. They even have specialists who can guide and support you through the planning process.
Find the executor or administrator
PayPal has a strict policy on closing the account of a deceased loved one. They’ll only follow the instructions provided by the executor or administrator of the deceased. If you're not the executor, you’ll need to find out who is.
That person will need to provide the necessary information to PayPal.
Collect your documents
PayPal requires that certain documents be faxed or mailed to them. You’ll need a copy of your loved one’s death certificate. And, a copy of a government-issued photo ID. PayPal requires the person requesting the account’s closure to also submit identification. This could be your driver’s license, passport, or any other state-issued ID.
You’ll also need a copy of your loved one’s will. The purpose of this document is to prove you are the executor of your loved one’s estate. You’ll need to prepare a cover sheet for all these documents. This can be a very basic letter. You just need to identify the account by the email address associated with it and request its deletion.
Send your documents
This can be done in two ways. You can fax it to PayPal’s department at 303-395-2803. Or, you can mail it to their address in Omaha. This address is POB 45950, ATTN: ICA, Omaha NE, 68145.
Once PayPal receives these documents, they will review them. If your claim is valid, they’ll close the account. Keep in mind that you should only send copies of your documents. PayPal destroys these documents once a decision has been made, so do not send originals to them.
What if there’s still money left in the account—how are you supposed to get it back? If PayPal finds your account closure claim to be valid, they’ll disburse the money. They do this in one of two ways. They might write a check in the name of your deceased loved one. Or they might transfer the money.
The leftover money will be moved to the bank that was connected to the PayPal account. This means you’ll want to close out your loved one’s PayPal account before you close out their bank accounts.
Deleting a PayPal Account: FAQs
What if you don’t want to close an account? If you’re hoping to do something different, PayPal has many options. No matter what you want to do, some of the more frequently asked questions are answered below.
How do you delete a PayPal business account?
There are two ways to accomplish this. Consider whether you want to keep a personal account, or whether you want to close the entire thing. If you’d rather switch from a business account to a personal one, that’s simple. Just call PayPal’s customer support team. They’ll easily downgrade your business account.
You might want to delete the entire account, though. To do that, log in to your account. Then, click on your Business Profile icon. It’s located next to the Log Out option. Click Profile and Settings. You can navigate your way to Profile and Settings, then My Settings.
Click ‘Close account.’ You’ll need to have your bank account number on hand for this part. That prevents hackers from fraudulently closing your account. Then, click ‘Close Account’ again. After that, you’re done!
Can you delete a PayPal account without logging in?
In short, no. It’s meant to serve as a safety measure to protect your account. So you have to log in to delete an account.
If you’re struggling to log in to your loved one’s account try to find out if they had a password manager. This might cut down the time spent searching.
How do you delete a bank account from PayPal?
Once you log into your account, there’s a list of options. Click on Wallet. This will bring you to the list of banks connected with your account.
Once you’re on this screen, click on the bank you want to take off. Click Remove bank and that account will be removed.
Why can’t I close my PayPal account?
For major platforms, deactivation is a great option. That freezes the account or renders it invisible. That way, you don’t have to worry about funds being used. For PayPal, that’s never been an option. A PayPal account is either active or deleted entirely.
For those reasons, deleting an account is an all-or-nothing choice. But what if PayPal won’t let you close it? There are usually a few specific reasons for it. Check to make sure there are no unresolved issues with the account. Whether it’s a disputed claim or fraud charges, the account will remain open till that’s solved. If there are pending funds or a PayPal balance, the account will also stay open.
Once you move the money out of the account, or the issues are solved, the account can be closed.
When you’re making a list it can be hard to remember everything. Especially when it comes to your online accounts. Consider trying to start end-of-life planning well in advance.
Doing so can help minimize the chance that something will slip through the cracks. And with bank information and financials, you don’t want that to happen. Whatever you can do ahead of time to help make this process easier for your family will be appreciated. It’ll make things a little less stressful during a difficult time.
If you're looking to get rid of more financial or digital accounts, check out our guide to finding what websites you have accounts with, how to delete yourself from the internet, and how to delete your Venmo account.