Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be a difficult process, and after that initial grief stage comes the practical tying-up of loose ends. That can include mail service to the deceased’s residence, whether you opt to stop it entirely or just forward it.
How do you notify USPS of death and get the deceased’s mail situation sorted effectively? Here is the answer you seek at this challenging time.
How Do You Notify USPS Of Death In 2023?
To notify USPS of death to modify the delivery of their mail, you must be the deceased’s appointed executor or appointed administrator, with proof as of 2023. Then you can easily file a request at your local post office location. Non-executors who shared an address with the deceased may open and manage mail.
Let’s get more into detail about how to stop and forward mail delivery for a deceased person, if you can get the deceased put on a Do Not Contact List, and who can open the deceased’s mail legally. Keep reading!
How Do You Stop USPS Mail Delivery For A Deceased Person?
When a loved one dies, it may be best to simply stop mail for that person; perhaps they lived alone, or no one has the time to mind it going forward.
That said, the only person who can stop mail delivery from USPS is the deceased individual’s executor or an appointed administrator, like a will executor attorney.
Further, they are legally invested with the authority to make decisions on behalf of the deceased and their estate.
Of course, you will need to bring proof of this status to the post office when you go to modify the deceased’s mail delivery,
A few examples include the Short Certificate or a letter of testamentary. Also, you will have to bring your ID to show that you are the person named.
Moreover, other necessary documents to bring include a certified copy of the death certificate and a legal notification of death.
After all, the Postal Service doesn’t want to be mistakenly cutting off mail service for someone who is actually still alive.
Further, bring these documents to the front counter at the post office and explain that you would like to stop mail on the deceased’s behalf.
After that, the clerk at the counter will then walk you through the process.
Additionally, it might not make sense to stop all mail to the deceased, though; what if they leave behind bills or other important notifications?
In these cases, it might be better to simply redirect mail (see below).
Can You Redirect Mail For A Deceased Person?
The same as for stopping mail; to redirect mail, you will have to be the executor of the will, with proof to back it up. Again, you will have to visit your local post office to make the change.
That said, all you have to do is ask for the mail to be rerouted and supply USPS with the address where you want the mail delivered from now on.
Further, this is a good option right after the deceased has passed, as it will allow the executor the opportunity to tie up loose ends.
Also, stopping mail altogether right after someone has died could mean missing something important.
Additionally, it’s important to note there is a third option, which can occur when someone shares the same address as the deceased.
That’s to do nothing; the person who lives at that same residence can continue collecting and even opening the deceased’s mail at their discretion.
Can You Write Deceased, Return To Sender On Mail?
If you have gone through the steps of stopping or redirecting mail from a deceased person’s residence, but something gets through the cracks, that can be annoying.
However, you can write Deceased, Return to Sender on the mailpiece, and the postal carrier will collect it.
Then, they’ll make sure it gets back to whoever sent it in the first place.
Is There A USPS Deceased Do Not Contact List?
There is a Deceased Do Not Contact (DDNC) List, but USPS does not run it; it is under the administration of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA),
That said, you can simply visit the site and register your loved one’s name so that they immediately stop receiving some marketing mail.
DMA members are required to remove the names from their own mailing lists, and non-members often do so as well.
Also, continuing to receive mail for a loved one who passed is not only annoying, it can be a painful reminder.
Therefore, using the DNNC list is a good, concrete step you can take immediately.
Is It Illegal To Open A Deceased Person’s Mail?
It is illegal to open anyone else’s mail (and mailbox) when they are alive, but the rules relax a little bit when they pass. That is, only if you shared a residence with them.
So if your spouse, child, or parent passes and you lived together, you – as another resident of the house – are allowed to open and manage their mail, per the USPS website.
Also, the other person who can legally open a deceased person’s mail is their executor, the person with legal authority to make decisions on their behalf.
Moreover, the people who lived with the deceased can forward one piece of mail to the executor, free of charge, without visiting a post office.
To do that, simply cross out the address and print “Forward to” plus the new address on the front of the envelope.
Then, leave the envelope in your mailbox as you usually would for outgoing mail pickup.
You can do it just once, though. After that, you will have to speak to the executor about having mail forwarded permanently.
To notify the USPS of a deceased individual and have delivery of their mail modified, you must be the executor of their estate and visit the post office on their behalf.
However, the Postal Service allows other residents of the deceased’s home to open and manage their continuously incoming mail.