Credit reports aren’t the first thing on your mind when a loved one passes away. Grieving takes time, and it might be weeks or months before you can comfortably start sorting through the person’s financial matters. But when you’re ready, it’s a good idea to notify TransUnion or another credit bureau of your loved one’s death.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What You’ll Need Before You Send a Death Notification
- 8 Steps for Reporting a Death to TransUnion
- What Happens After You Report a Death to TransUnion?
The Social Security Administration sends out periodic death notifications to credit reporting agencies like TransUnion. But notifying the agencies on your own can be faster.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the steps for notifying TransUnion of your loved one’s death. But you could notify one of the other two credit bureaus—Equifax and Experian—instead. Once you send a notification to one of the three bureaus, you don’t need to send notifications to the other two.
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 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.
What You’ll Need Before You Send a Death Notification
First, we’ll take a look at what you need to do and put together before you send a death notification to TransUnion. Make sure to check off each item on the list below:
Make sure you’re authorized.
If the deceased left a will behind, they likely named an estate executor.
If the deceased didn’t have a will, the court may have appointed you an administrator or personal representative.
If you’re not the executor, an appointed administrator, or the person’s spouse, you can’t submit a notice of death to TransUnion on the person’s behalf.
Get proof of your authorization.
If you’re the legal executor or administrator, you’ll need documentation as evidence of your legal role. This usually includes a court order listing you as an authorized representative.
If you’re the person’s spouse, you usually don’t need that kind of document. But as mentioned, you need a copy of your identification.
Get a death certificate.
You’ll need to provide evidence that your loved one is deceased. You typically do this is by sending the credit bureau a copy of the death certificate.
Gather the following information about your loved one.
TransUnion needs this information about the deceased in order to place a “deceased” notice on the account:
- Legal name
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Date of death
Prepare to provide the following information about yourself.
You’ll also need to provide this information and documentation about yourself:
- Legal name
- Address for sending final confirmation
- Proof that you’re the executor or spouse, as described above
- Proof of identification, such as a copy of your driver’s license or government-issued ID
8 Steps for Reporting a Death to TransUnion
Now we’ll look at the exact steps you should take to report a death to TransUnion.
1. Contact TransUnion
Even though we’re providing you with the appropriate steps, it’s still a good idea to contact TransUnion’s customer service department before mailing anything in.
This can help you understand the specific information and documents you need based on your relationship to the deceased, and it can answer any questions you may have.
You can reach TransUnion’s general support line at 833-395-6938.
2. Gather documents
Next, you’ll need to gather up the necessary documents to mail to TransUnion. As mentioned above, the documents required depends on your relationship to the deceased. But in general, you’ll need these important documents:
- Death certificate: Make a copy of the death certificate. You’ll need the death certificate for other reasons, so make sure you don’t send the original.
- Testamentary: You’ll also need a copy of a legal document stating that you’re the executor of the estate or administrator (unless you’re the person’s spouse).
- Identification: The other key document is a copy of your government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.
3. Write a letter
In addition to the documents described above, you’ll need to include a letter to TransUnion in the envelope. This letter should request that TransUnion and the other credit bureaus place a “deceased” notice on your loved one’s credit profile, due to their passing.
In the letter, make sure to include the following information about the deceased:
- Legal name.
- Social Security number.
- Date of birth.
- Date of death.
You should also clearly list this information about yourself:
- Legal name.
- Relationship to the deceased.
- Mailing address (so that TransUnion can send a confirmation letter).
4. Keep copies
As you put together your letter to TransUnion and the necessary documents, it’s a good idea to make extra paper copies for yourself.
You can put together two identical packages: one in a mailer or envelope that you’ll actually send to TransUnion, and one in a folder that you’ll keep at home.
If anything needs to be signed or dated, make copies both before and after signing.
5. Request credit reports
In the letter requesting that a “deceased” notice be put on your loved one’s profile, you can also ask for a copy of their credit report.
Alternatively, you can attach a separate letter requesting your loved one’s credit reports within the envelope.
In addition to the documents and information you provided for the death notification, you should also include your loved one’s last known address if you’re requesting credit reports.
Note that this will only request your loved one’s credit reports from TransUnion, and you’ll have to contact the other agencies separately to obtain those reports.
6. Consider Certified Mail
It’s not required, but because you’re mailing sensitive information, you might want to use Certified Mail with the USPS. Certified Mail lets you access information about your mailed letter, including an update when the recipient receives it.
7. Send everything to TransUnion
Finally, mail your envelope with everything inside to TransUnion at this address:
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
What Happens After You Report a Death to TransUnion?
What happens after you’ve sent off all of the necessary information? Here’s what you can expect after sending a deceased notification letter to TransUnion.
After TransUnion receives your letter, the bureau may send you a confirmation letter. The letter should state that a “Deceased: Do not issue credit” notice was placed on your loved one’s profile.
If you don’t receive such confirmation, you can contact TransUnion’s customer helpline to make sure the notice was put in place.
Sending TransUnion a “death notification” for your loved one tells the credit bureau to place a “deceased” notice on the person’s credit profile.
That way, no additional credit (like credit cards and loans) can be taken out in the person’s name. And that helps prevent identity theft, as well as other issues.
Requesting credit reports
As discussed in Step 6, you can request your loved one’s credit reports at the same time that you send the death notification. You can also request credit reports later on, at any point, by mailing a request to each of the three agencies:
P.O. Box 105139
Atlanta, GA 30348-5139
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
The information you’ll need to send along with this request depends on whether you’re the person’s spouse or their executor, as discussed in Step 6.
Death and Finances
It’s never easy to manage a departed loved one’s financial accounts, no matter how long it’s been since their passing. But taking just a few actions, like notifying one of the three credit bureaus about the death, can go a long way.
Unfortunately, identity thieves don’t only target the living. And the credit profile of a deceased person can make for an easy target. That’s why it’s a good idea to notify TransUnion, or one of the other two bureaus, about the death as soon as you’re ready.
We hope that the steps we outlined above have made the process of notifying TransUnion easier so that you can focus on more meaningful memories of your loved one.
If you're looking for more help with dealing with an estate, read our estate planning checklist and what to keep after someone dies.
- “Reporting a death of a loved one to TransUnion.” 05 April 2019. TransUnion. https://www.transunion.com/blog/credit-advice/reporting-a-death-to-tu
- “After a relative's death, do I need to contact each nationwide credit bureau?” Equifax. https://www.equifax.com/personal/help/relative-death-contact-credit-bureaus/
- “Top freeze FAQs.” TransUnion. https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/credit-freeze-faq#freeze-other