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Mail Address Change for Deceased
Old 06-12-2018, 11:28 PM   #1
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Mail Address Change for Deceased

Has anyone needing to change the mailing address for someone who is deceased?

My mother recently died. I live about 25 minutes from her house and can go over and get the mail but it would be easier for it to be forwarded to my house. I am her only child and am executor under her will. I am not sure yet whether I will need to file for a probate administration (not all estates require a probate administration in my state). Even if I do file for one, it will take at least a month to get that done.

The USPS website say that to complete a change of address for her I have to provide valid proof that I am the appointed executor or administrator and authorized to manage her mail.

Of course, I can just go over and check her mail frequently until I get appointed or get whatever proof would satisfy USPS. Has anyone had to do this? Any luck getting them accept anything other than being appointed executor?
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:32 AM   #2
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Katsmeow - I am sorry for your loss. I went through this with my Father for the first time a few years ago.

I know that the DMV in our state allows transfers of automobiles with only a death certificate if probate is otherwise unnecessary.

Perhaps make the trip,once a week for a few weeks, to get the mail and if you find that probate is truly unnecessary approach the local postmaster with death certificate and copy of will.

If fulll probate is unnecessary (ie you have a small value probate estate), your state will likely offer a small estate probate process which can be as simple as single visit to the county probate office to receive your appointment from a clerk. I believe in my state there is also an even simpler affidative process where you just sign the court form saying that you will not be opening up a probate and that you are the designated Executor and give it to whatever organization you are dealing with.

When I went through this process, my dad had a condo full of papers and stuff that I needed to go through, so the 20 minute/week drive in my case to get the mail was not a burden. I also considered having the mail forwarded but figured having it all received at his place would help me keep organized without commingling his mail with our own.

The USPS now has its free "Informed Delivery" service that I signed up for at my own house. I now receive an email scan each morning of all the first class mail envelopes that will be delivered that day. This may be a useful tool for you to look into.

Just for context, how long ago did your Mom pass? In my case, with funeral planning and researching the probate process, I did not approach the county probate court until at least a month after Dad passed. (I am a serious DIYer in many aspects of life)

In my case researching my Probate needs, along with the Probate process offered by my state, for a few weeks allowed me to confidently plan this. (Funny side note, I wore a suite and had all my paperwork filled out, so everyone thought I was an attorney! On a later visit, even an attorney who had personal business there was asking me questions. LOL)

I will say that I received some of his funds up front due to beneficiary designations so that gave me some time to work with (cash-flow wise) -- in addition to my own funds which I effectively loaned to the estate (probably not a good idea in retrospect).

I was also his only child and sole beneficiary.

I took my time with the process and feel good about how I handled it.

-gauss
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:15 AM   #3
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why not just go online to the usps website and submit a mail forwarding form?
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:22 AM   #4
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why not just go online to the usps website and submit a mail forwarding form?
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
The USPS website say that to complete a change of address for her I have to provide valid proof that I am the appointed executor or administrator and authorized to manage her mail.
OP does not yet have the necessary docs to complete it online - I would imagine that a forward and a change require similar proof or anyone can just go do this for anyone else.

It's possible by calling the USPS or going into the local branch the next time you go there, they might at least be able to hold mail vs. delivery it for now, until you have the docs they require?
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:31 AM   #5
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I have submitted personal "vacation holds" both online and in-person. In this case I still needed my id to actually pickup the mail after the hold expired.

Forwarding would probably require a higher level of identity verification upfront.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:33 AM   #6
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A change of address or forwarding can be done online with a credit card that has the same billing address. My guess, however, is there is an affidavit somewhere in the process where one attests to being the authorized individual. Technically, a violation of the law, although doubtful USPS would pursue.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:47 AM   #7
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I am executor for DF's estate so forwarding his mail was straightforward for me.

Don't forget to register with the Direct Marketing Assn's "deceased - do not mail" list at https://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc.php.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:33 AM   #8
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Take a copy of the will and death certificate to the local post office and change her address to yours. If you try to do it online, a small credit card charge is required and the name on the credit card must be the same as the person changing the address.

There is so much fraud going on that the post office just cannot forward mail and packages suddenly without taking action on security.

Don't forget to get with the IRS to obtain a new social security number for the estate. Processing an estate takes awhile even if the will doesn't have to be probated. And mail needs to go to the right place.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:16 AM   #9
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A change of address or forwarding can be done online with a credit card that has the same billing address. My guess, however, is there is an affidavit somewhere in the process where one attests to being the authorized individual. Technically, a violation of the law, although doubtful USPS would pursue.
+1

I did this online so I wouldn't miss bills while my Mom was in Skilled Nursing. I think you may only do it for 6 months, beyond that, you either renew it, or maybe that takes a higher level of ID validation, I don't remember. Whatever security check there was (I think I used one of her credit cards, as MB mentions), it was easy.

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Old 06-13-2018, 10:03 AM   #10
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A change of address or forwarding can be done online with a credit card that has the same billing address.
+1

I did this a couple of weeks ago. USPS will then send a confirmation to both the old and new address. Mail will begin forwarding in about a week. Now I'm going through mail I receive to cancel things, change the address listed with organizations, etc. as appropriate.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Take care.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:04 AM   #11
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A little off topic, but I found this checklist to be helpful:

AARP - What to Do When a Loved One Dies
https://www.aarp.org/home-family/fri...checklist.html
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:18 AM   #12
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OP does not yet have the necessary docs to complete it online - I would imagine that a forward and a change require similar proof or anyone can just go do this for anyone else.
I was under the impression that anyone could just do this for anyone else by submitting the form. Am I wrong?
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:19 AM   #13
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Forwarding would probably require a higher level of identity verification upfront.
Is that your assumption?
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:37 AM   #14
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+1

I did this online so I wouldn't miss bills while my Mom was in Skilled Nursing. I think you may only do it for 6 months, beyond that, you either renew it, or maybe that takes a higher level of ID validation, I don't remember. Whatever security check there was (I think I used one of her credit cards, as MB mentions), it was easy.

-ERD50
This. MIL passed 2 mos. later. Post office does not forward mail after one year, but by then I had contacted everyone and all mail was being forwarded to her, care of DH at our address. Depending on timing, you may need to do this to enable tax filing after the one year no forwarding period.

We forwarded on line and all we needed was a cc. We did use hers, but I don't think ours would have caused problems. I don't recall if we had to renew after a 6 mos. period, but by then you will have all your documentation in order.

I would do this if mail is delivered curbside. If delivered through slot in door, I would as suggested above, go once a week to pick up.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:10 PM   #15
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When I saw the thread title, I immediately thought "This is a job for the Dead Letter Office."
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:41 PM   #16
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To do change of address online, you give a credit card number, and the name has to match and the billing address have to match one of the addresses. So, no, not anyone can go in and forward someone’s mail willy nilly.

Change of address is good for 1 year. They don’t forward magazines after a few months.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:55 PM   #17
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I did it when my Dad passed, I had his documents, credit cards, etc.

I did it online, used his credit card--I think the cost was something like $1.00--
they just wanted to make sure the mail did not get into the wrong hands.

I was the executor and changed it to my address, no problems.

He still gets credit card offers at my address a few times per year--nine years later.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:44 PM   #18
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Don't forget to get with the IRS to obtain a new social security number for the estate.
Estates get EINs, not SSNs (just to pick nits). Easy to do online.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:43 PM   #19
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While my mom was alive and I had her power of attorney I actually temporarily forwarded her mail to my then address as my mom was staying with me the last week and a half before her death. I did it online and used her credit card (yes, the name and address had to match) and there was a $1 charge. I felt comfortable doing this as she authorized me to do it explicitly at the time and, in any event, I was POA.

However, that was a temporary forwarding order that expired about 10 days after her death. We were in a short term rental so I only temporarily forwarded her mail. We were going to move into our permanent house this week and I had intended to put in a permanent change of address for her to our new address (as she was to come with us to our new house).

But -- then she died. I did not feel comfortable using her credit card her set up mail change of address after she was deceased. I looked on the USPS website which says it requires proof of being executor or administrator and authority to manage the mail.

Most likely, her will will be filed as a muniment of title. In Texas you can file a will as a muniment of title and there is no administration required. In that case, I would never be appointed as executor as no administration would be required. I assume the post office would accept the filed muniment of title.

I was wondering if anyone, though, had tried simply going in with a death certificate and copy of the will and seeing if they would allow the forwarding of the mail. I can go to my mom's house a few times a week. She gets her mail in a small mailbox on her front porch.

There is a small possibility I may end up needing to file for an administration. In this case, though, since I am the only child it would be pretty simpleas I would be the independent executor.
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:14 PM   #20
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... I did not feel comfortable using her credit card her set up mail change of address after she was deceased. ....
My advice (and I think MichaelB suggested this as well): Just do it. You obviously have no bad intent, the USPS really, really is not going to care, and no one is going to check. And if they did, they'd likely just say "don't do that, fill out this form". They aren't out chasing down people who are honestly trying to settle an estate.

You have enough challenges right now, dealing with the aftermath of your Mom's passing. Take the easy path on this, don't make things harder on yourself.

Take care.

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