Forwarding magazines seems like a fairly straightforward process, right? Well, yes — and no. The process can vary depending on your circumstances.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Forward Your Own Magazine Subscriptions After an Address Change
- How to Forward a Deceased Loved One’s Magazine Subscriptions
For example, you might be moving to a new residence or handling the estate of a loved one. There are different procedures in place for both situations.
Here’s how to handle what to do about magazine subscriptions in any situation.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, it's tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business (like dealing with their mail) without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
How to Forward Your Own Magazine Subscriptions After an Address Change
When you move, there’s so much going on that it’s no surprise that something like forwarding magazines might get pushed way down on the priority list. But it’s still important to keep track of these little things, too.
Here are a few simple steps to forward your magazine subscriptions after an address change.
1. Fill out a change of address form
First, contact the post office and fill out a change of address form. There are two different ways to do this:
- Go to your local post office and request the Mover’s Guide packet. It includes a lot of helpful resources. One of them is a document called PS Form 3575. Just fill out the form and hand it to a postal worker behind the counter or drop it in the letter mail slot inside the post office. Within five business days, you’ll receive a confirmation letter that your change of address has gone through. This service is completely free.
- You can also take care of your change of address online. If you go the online route, you’ll need to have a debit or credit card and a valid email address. The United States Postal Service (USPS) charges $1 to change your address online. This nominal charge is an identity verification fee. It prevents people from fraudulently altering your address in an effort to get your mail. Be sure that you visit the moving section of the USPS website. Avoid unscrupulous websites out there that try to charge you $40 for the same service.
Whether you go online or in person, you can ask for a change of address form to be temporary or permanent. A temporary address change might be the right solution for a college student who lives in a dorm most of the year and visits family during the summer. It’s also a great option for a retiree who spends winters in Florida before returning up north for the rest of the year. A permanent address change is for someone who indefinitely moves residences.
Change of address forms don’t last forever. First-Class Mail, express mail, and packages can be forwarded for up to a year. After that, they’re no longer deliverable to you. Magazines and newspapers have a shorter time span. They can only be forwarded for 60 days. This is a quick step but it’s not a long-term solution.
2. Contact magazine publishers directly
The only way to get magazines sent to you permanently and in a timely manner is to contact the magazine directly. Some magazines allow you to do this online, but not all will. Just about every magazine has a toll-free number you can call. Give the magazine publisher a call and in a matter of minutes, your subscription will be changed to your new home.
The change of address form above is a stopgap measure. It gives you time to check higher priority items off your list. Ultimately, this is the only way to make sure your magazines are reliably and promptly sent to you.
How to Forward a Deceased Loved One’s Magazine Subscriptions
There are a lot of reasons people may want to receive a deceased loved one’s magazine subscriptions. Nostalgia is one factor. If you always loved reading the jokes in “Reader’s Digest” at your grandma’s house, receiving the subscription may help you feel closer to her. Also, if the subscription is already paid for, you might want to transfer it so the money isn’t wasted.
You may be able to get your deceased loved one’s magazines forwarded to you. It’s not quite as simple as forwarding your own subscription and here’s how to make sure it happens.
1. Fill out a change of address form — if you’re authorized
As we noted above, the USPS wants to ensure that unauthorized parties don’t try to change your address. Even if someone is deceased, the USPS doesn’t let people forward their mail indiscriminately.
You need to prove that you’re the executor of the deceased’s estate or are otherwise authorized to make changes. Once you’ve established that, just fill out a standard change of address form.
2. Contact the magazine publisher
Once again, magazines and periodicals can only be forwarded for 60 days. So if you want magazines permanently routed your way, you’ll need to call the publisher. Since it’s not originally your subscription, you may also need to provide the publisher with a copy of the death certificate.
Note that some magazines may not wish to forward the subscription your way but will issue a refund for any unused subscriptions to the estate.
Getting It Done
Remember that the change of address form buys you two months for magazines and up to a year for other types of mail. Once you’ve set up your change of address form, make a list of all entities that need to be notified of the move and rank it in order of priority.
Take 15 minutes every day to make a few phone calls and update addresses. Over the course of a few weeks, you can tackle a huge chunk of your to-do list while you sip on your morning coffee.
- “Change Your Address and Other U.S. Post Office Services.” Usa.gov, United States Government, 5 November 2019, www.usa.gov/post-office.
- “Mail Addressed to the Deceased.” Usps.com, United States Postal Service, 17 August 2019. www.usps.com/manage/mail-for-deceased.htm.