The amount of admin involved in dying is ridiculous! When a loved one dies, it is difficult to handle all the paperwork and funeral arrangements while grieving.
However, you need to cancel all subscriptions that automatically come out of their accounts. It’ll be difficult to get the payments back when they have already left the deceased’s accounts.
What Subscriptions and Accounts Do I Need to Cancel?
Nowadays, almost everything has a subscription. You will need to cancel all of these to ensure the deceased accounts are no longer being debited. We will cover some of the most common subscriptions you should look for. The deceased will hopefully have left information about their accounts and logins to make your job easier. If they have named an executor, then the process will be even easier. The executor of the estate will often handle financial affairs such as these. They will handle the debts and assets of the estate. Their job is to handle the taxes, transfer of assets, and all accounts.
Most people pay their utilities by direct debit, and this will be the easiest thing to handle quickly. Find a copy of their bills for the account number and customer service number. This will allow you to contact them and cancel the service. You will need to cancel every single service. Even those with the same company (it may seem obvious, but in many cases you will need to remind them). For example, if the same provider supplies the internet and TV channels, you will need to remind them to cancel both. It is much better than finding out a month or two later that it wasn’t cancelled.
Everyone has multiple entertainment subscriptions. Go through the deceased’s devices to see what entertainment apps they have. Most people have multiple movie streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ as well as music services such as Spotify. Consider their TV passes and subscriptions to online entertainment services too.
News or Online Publications Subscriptions
If your loved one enjoyed keeping up to date with the news, then they may have multiple subscriptions to online news sources. This could be local newspapers, online magazines or newspapers, or even websites like Reddit. These subscriptions may be more difficult to uncover. However, it is best to check the deceased’s emails; often, they will send updates.
The government makes it very easy to notify all government organisations of the passing of your loved ones.
Make a note of all the services they received, such as:
- State pension
- Public sector pension
- Healthcare benefits
- Council services
Use the government’s Tell Us Once service to register the death. You will also need to provide the details of anybody who was claiming joint benefits with the deceased. Get permission from them first, as you will need to provide their contact details, address, and National Insurance Number.
The Tell Us Once service does not notify any housing services, utility providers, or banks. You will need to contact all of those separately.
You will need the following information for the deceased before using the Tell Us Once service:
- National Insurance Number
- Date of birth
- Date of death
- Passport number
- Driving licence number
- Vehicle registration number
You may also need the death certificate as well. Most of the subscription services will require a copy of the death certificate to prove death.
Dating Services or Adult Subscription Accounts
Your loved one may have been paying for dating services or apps. If this is the case, then be sure to cancel these subscriptions and close down the accounts. There is no need to have the account floating around after their death.
Similarly, your loved one may have a subscription to adult services like video subscriptions or membership sites. You will be able to find these details in their emails. Most of these services try to be discreet and so will be displayed on the credit card statements under a different business name. This is perhaps one of the most distressing things for the family to do. Nobody likes to know what their family were into. Just close them as fast as possible and try not to look into the services too much! When you put your affairs in order, consider getting a trusted friend to close these types of accounts for you to save your family from the ordeal.
This is another popular subscription service. Even if your loved one didn’t seem to work out at all, you should check for a gym membership, personal trainer fees, or online fitness classes. Most people will sign up for at least one of these in the new year. Sometimes they may have forgotten to cancel their membership for a few years! Even if your loved one didn’t seem the type to hit the gym, they might have been paying membership fees to gain access to a pool or mobility assistance classes.
Many online stores will offer a subscription service that allows you to ensure premium delivery or other little bonus services. These subscriptions will usually keep charging until they are cancelled, so you need to make sure you identify any of these. Talk to your loved one’s friends and check their emails to find the names of companies they may be subscribed to.
Grocery Delivery Services or Meal Kits
Food delivery services are popular subscription services, especially for the elderly. They make it easy to eat well without having to make it out to crowded supermarkets and carry shopping home. Check to see if your loved one had any meal kit or meal delivery services that automatically renew. Also, check to see if they had Amazon subscription services in place to order recurring items. Some supermarket delivery services will charge a weekly fee even if the service is not used. Check their emails and bank statements to see what services your loved one used. Similarly, they may have subscription services for their pet food, toys, or insurance.
Bank Direct Debits
As you cancel subscriptions, you should also check your loved ones direct debits. Cancel the payments with the bank (you will need the death certificate to do this) and then contact each of the companies with direct debits. This will help you to identify regular payments that you may not have been aware of.
Social Media Accounts
It is sensible to ensure social media accounts are accounted for, by either being deleted or memorialised if the site allows. Here's a list to help:
- Facebook - Click here for our 'How to Close a Facebook Account When Someone Dies' guide
- Twitter - Click here for our 'How to Close a Twitter Account When Someone Dies' guide
Where Should I Look to See What Accounts and Subscriptions My Loved One Has?
If the deceased did not have their affairs in order, then there are a few places you could look to find their subscriptions.
Check the post they have kept to see what subscription services they may have. Not all services will send physical letters, but some may. This will also help you to find account numbers and reference numbers for utilities and government services. Check to see if they have subscriptions to physical newspapers or magazines.
Credit Card or Bank Statements
This is perhaps the least fun but go through the last year of their account statements to look for payments. This will ensure you find not only monthly subscriptions but annual subscriptions too. Write down the names of anything you don’t recognise to Google or check against their emails. Some companies will use another name on bank and credit card statements for discretion.
One of the easiest ways to halt subscription fees is to cancel the credit cards right away after death. Financial accounts may take a few weeks to be closed, so a few payments may sneak through in the meantime. You should try and still close some of the main accounts while you are waiting for the credit card to be cancelled.
The bank will often require the death certificate and proof that you are either next of kin or the estate executor before they allow you to access such an action. It will not be possible for you to close any joint accounts or credit cards linked to joint accounts. Instead, you will have to ask the surviving account holder to cancel any subscriptions going in or out of those accounts.
Most services will send email receipts. This is a great way to discover any online subscriptions that may not be clear on account statements. It is also a great way to see what social media accounts your loved one has so you can cancel these later. It is a great way to check which social media accounts a loved one has too.
Redirect Their Post
Be sure to set up a redirect on your loved one’s post if their significant other is not still living at the same address. You can set up a post box or get their post redirected to your address. This will help you to receive the confirmation of account cancellations and ensure that your loved one’s identity is not stolen after their death.