It can be overwhelming and difficult to lose a loved one. It is difficult and exhausting to deal with the emotional toll. It is common for loved ones to forget some details, even if they have a clear plan.
People tend to prioritize cancelling financial-related items like credit cards, insurance policies, and automatic payments. This is a great first step. However, it may not be enough. You should also cancel ID cards, such as the driver’s license, of a loved one. This could help prevent identity theft which is becoming a more serious problem for the living as well as the dead. It is important to end all identity theft cases as soon as possible. This is something that is very difficult to bear during a time of bereavement.
How to cancel a driver’s license following death
Each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has its own rules regarding how it issues or cancels driver’s licences. For more information, it is best to contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or refer to the table below. You might not have to cancel a license in some states. Vital Records will notify the DMV about the death of the license holder and the license will automatically be cancelled. These steps will be followed if your state requires you to cancel your license.
1. 1. Collect the death certificate
To cancel a driver’s licence, you need an official death certificate. Depending on the state and reason for death, death certificates may take up to several weeks to issue. A death certificate must be filed within 72 hour with your health department, and 5 to 7 days with the state.
2. 2.Make an appointment (or visit one!) with the DMV
DMVs don’t allow you to cancel the driver’s license of a family member online. You’ll need to visit the DMV in person. You can avoid long lines at the counter by making an appointment.
3. Cancel by mail
Most states allow you cancel your driver’s license via mail if you are unable or unwilling to go to the DMV. You will need to send:
- Let us know why you want to cancel the license of the deceased driver
- Notarized or certified copies of the death certificate
- Original driver’s licence
The death penalty and identity theft
You may be surprised to learn that identity theft can even affect deceased. This is commonly known as ghosting. Scammers use a variety of methods to search for information on recently deceased relatives.
- Obituaries: You can find information such as home address, birth date, and names of spouses and children in published death notices. This is useful information for verifying your identity or applying to credit.
- Mail: One can get bank and mortgage information, tax-related documentation, and even a part of a Social Security Number in the mail.
- Social media: Fraudsters can gain information from your relative’s social media accounts, such as their birthdays, phone numbers, and email addresses.
According to the AARP, almost 2.5 Million Americans who have died are used each year to apply for loans and open credit cards accounts. They also get utility or cell phone numbers.
The next of kin could be affected if the accounts aren’t closed properly or canceled because they were fraudulent. John Yanchunis is the head of Morgan & Morgan’s Cybersecurity and Class Action practices . He explains that a spouse of a deceased could be sued for collection in states where a spouse has to pay for the care and necessities for a spouse. A defense would exist if the spouse who died was a victim to fraud. However, a spouse living today might have to prove that the spouse they are responsible for is not.
It is important to prevent identity theft by closing down accounts and IDs. If they have access to sensitive information, an experienced fraudster or cyberthief could cause serious damage. The vital step of cancelling the driver’s licence for a deceased person should also be included. The Virginia DMV states that “this simple procedure [to cancel a driver’s licence] removes the deceased from the DMV’s mailing lists. This will prevent you from receiving future mails and protect your identity from being used by others for fraudulent purposes.
What should else be cancelled?
You now have a better understanding of the potential compromise of a relative’s death. It is important to remember that other items must be canceled to prevent personal information from being misused. Here are some other items related to vehicles that you should cancel or transfer. Some of these items can be combined to save time.
The vehicle title shows the name and address of the car’s owner. To sell or continue driving the car, you will need to transfer it. To transfer the title, you will need to bring the original title certificate and death certificate to the DMV. To transfer the title legally, you will need to sign an affidavit from the state certifying that there is no probate.
Registration of a car
After the car title transfer has been completed and the vehicle is in your possession, you can register it. Before you can register the vehicle, you will need car insurance. You may also require a smog inspection or emission inspection depending on your car’s age.
You must submit the license plates for a deceased person’s car along with your driver’s licence, a certified copy or notarized copy and a cover letter. The plates can be returned to the DMV, or mailed in. For more information about how to return plates, contact the DMV office in your state.
Placards for Handicapped
To park in handicap spots, the DMV can also issue handicap placards. You can also return the handicap placard if you send in the driver’s licence and vehicle plates.
Call the carrier to cancel auto coverage. Before cancelling the policy, they will likely ask you to fax or email a copy the death certificate.
Leasing or loans for cars
The death of a car loanee does not automatically mean that the debt will be forgiven. The estate will pay the balance. If you provide documentation to prove that you are the beneficiary of the loan or lease, you may be allowed to take it over. However, this will depend on the state laws and the lender.