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How do you close a loved one’s accounts after they die?

From cancelling bank and social media accounts to stopping utility bills and subscriptions: Organising paperwork can be a shock after a bereavement. Here’s a practical guide to getting started.

By Kristin Hulaas Sunde


There are no set rules for how to close someone’s accounts after they die. However, a good starting point is searching for relevant information on the company’s website, or to call them asking:

  • what their process is for closing a deceased person’s account(s)

  • what documentation they need to see, and

  • who can do it (usually the executor of the will or next of kin).

In most cases you’ll need key personal details about the person, including their address, the date they died and ideally their account, policy or customer reference number. Log-in details such as passwords are also helpful - if you can find them.


Many companies will ask for documentation, including originals or copies/photos of the death certificate. Some will ask for a copy of the will and details of the executor. For social media accounts, decide if you want to memorialise or delete them. It is also possible to take over subscriptions like Spotify or Netflix and utilities such as broadband and electricity, in which case you will need to provide the new subscriber’s contact and payment details.


Bank accounts

Most banks will ask for the individual’s personal information and bank details (if available), whether they have a will or not, and details about who is closing their account.

Many will want to see the original death certificate, and possibly an original or certified copy of the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration, and/or an original or certified copy of the will.


Many banks have online forms designed to notify them of a death, including HSBC, Lloyds and RBS.


Utilities

These companies will often ask for an up-to-date meter reading for the property, along with the details of the executor or another person responsible for organising the deceased’s affairs.


You might need to clarify your relationship to the deceased, provide the date they passed away, their address and account details, and contact and bank details for anyone responsible for taking over the account.


Many utility companies have online forms available to notify them of a bereavement, including EDF Energy and Npower.


Broadband and mobile phone providers

Along with personal and account details, these providers will need the person’s phone number and, if relevant, details of anyone taking over their account.


Some companies have online forms, including BT and Virgin Media, while many others list contact phone numbers on their websites.


Subscription entertainment services

If you have access to the account you can cancel Netflix here, then sign out of all devices. Otherwise call 0800 096 6379 or use their live chat service.


For Amazon, email bereavement-support@amazon.co.uk attaching a copy of the death certificate. For Spotify, contact customer services.


To stop Apple subscriptions, contact your bank and remove any direct debits. If you have the password you can also disable accounts via account settings or webchat with Apple support. To request access to information, e.g. music or photos, follow these steps.


Social media

Rules for who can close someone’s else’s social media accounts vary - from a friend or family member connected with the deceased on Facebook, or anyone with access to their phone or account, to a legal representative or immediate family member.


For Facebook, gather the deceased person's full name, profile url and a scan of the death certificate, then complete this form. Decide if you want the account memorialised or deleted – the same goes for Twitter.


For Instagram, complete this form to memorialise the account and this to request removing it.


Follow these instructions for WhatsApp and Snapchat, or simply delete the person’s accounts if you have access to their phone.


To delete YouTube and other Google accounts, visit this page, select 'close the account of a deceased user', then enter their name, death date, email address, details of a relative or legal representative, and a scan of your ID and their death certificate.


LinkedIn allows users to nominate someone to close their account if they pass away. The nominated person will need to contact LinkedIn. Otherwise, a close friend or family member can delete the account by completing this form. You will need their LinkedIn profile URL, their last place of employment, a link to an obituary, a relevant news story, or a scan of the death certificate.


Email accounts

To close Microsoft accounts, e.g. Hotmail, Live, Outlook or MSN, you’ll need the deceased’s full name, email address(es), date of birth, country of residence and estimated year when signing up, and estimated time that the account was last accessed.


You will also need to provide your own email address, a copy of the official death certificate, proof of ID if you aren’t named in the will – e.g. marriage or birth certificate, plus your shipping address and computer type if you’d like Microsoft to send you a DVD with the account contents. Email this information to msrecord@microsoft.com - otherwise, the account will be deleted after a year of inactivity.


For Gmail, use the same link mentioned above for closing all Google accounts.

Yahoo needs the deceased’s ID, a copy of a document appointing you as the personal representative or executor of their estate, a copy of the death certificate and your own ID. You can send this information via email or post – there’s more information here.

Insurance


The executor of the will is usually best placed to contact insurance companies, including Aviva (call 0345 030 7077) Admiral (use this online form or call 0333 220 2000) and LV (call 0800 022 3822).


In addition to personal information about the deceased, you will need their policy number(s) if possible, their car registration number, make and model, and your own contact details. You usually won’t need a death certificate for car or home insurance, and accounts will be closed once the final bill has been paid.


Other accounts

Many of us have multiple accounts and subscriptions these days, so try to investigate if your loved one had others in addition to those mentioned above – for example:

  • TV License

  • Gym membership

  • Visitor passes or memberships for museums, galleries, National Trust, etc.

  • Library cards

  • Loyalty schemes, including supermarkets, Nectar and airline frequent flyer accounts.

  • Food subscriptions, including veg delivery boxes and Graze.

  • Shopping services, including Asos Premier, Boohoo Premier and Next Unlimited, Birchbox and Glossybox.

If you need help closing account, Untangle can help you - click here for more information.


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