Anyone managing an estate in North Carolina has a range of duties required of them under North Carolina’s probate laws. Part of these duties include notifying creditors of the decedent’s death, as well as evaluating claims filed against the estate. It’s vital to carefully evaluate all of these claims because some of them may in fact be fraudulent and arise as a result of identity theft.
A new study issued by ID Analytics, a financial security company, reports that about 800,000 deceased people had their identities stolen last year by thieves who used that information to open fraudulent lines of credit, such as credit cards and cellular phone accounts. Another 1.6 million deceased people had their Social Security numbers used for fraudulent purposes.
As an administrator you need to be aware of the potential for identity theft even after the death of the decedent. To properly deal with this situation there are several steps you can take.
First, always notify the proper local, state, and federal officials as soon as possible after the decedent’s death. To do this you will need to obtain numerous copies of the official death certificate.
Second, be very cautious when sharing personal information about the decedent. If you are involved in managing the decedent’s affairs prior to death, it’s especially important, for example, to know who has access to sensitive information.
Third, always have an experienced North Carolina probate attorney advise you about what your duties are and what you can do in case any identity theft situation arises.