Get a Free Healthcare Power of Attorney Done in Just Minutes! Learn more...
570.322.2077 | Williamsport
814.237.4100 | State College
570.746.3844 | Wyalusing
570.265.1800 | Wysox
  • Register for a seminar

    Register Now

    Learning has never been more enjoyable. Seminars offered at the Elder & Special Needs Resource Center provide an interesting range of topics, qualified presenters, and an opportunity to explore information with likeminded people in a peaceful, comfortable environment. Register for a seminar that sounds interesting to you today.

  • Second Half of Life Podcast

    Listen Now

    Listen to our library of podcasts on a variety of elder law topics, and subscribe to it through several podcast directories.

  • Get the answers you need

    Question or Comment

    Do you need assistance finding the information you need? Have a comment about our website or services? Click the button below to send us an email! We're always happy to help.

  • Our book cracks the code on long-term care planning

    Request your book

    Don’t miss this indispensable resource from a dream team of leading elder law attorneys. Protect your family and your hard-earned assets before it’s too late.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

In-Person & Virtual Seminar Registration

Register for an upcoming seminar and learn about preparing for your second half of life. Both virtual and in-person seminars are available.

Sign Up >>

Planning for Your Second Half of Life

When you are ready to choose a law firm to help you with your planning, choose the firm that is willing to provide and stand behind the most comprehensive and thorough eldercare planning available: Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak.

Learn more >>

Elder & Special Needs Resource Center

The Elder & Special Needs Resource Center was developed as a one-stop facility where people could begin to research the services and supports that are related to the issues surrounding aging or disability.

Learn more >>

  • "What I liked best about Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak was the wonderful staff, the warmth and caring. Putting up with my
  • "Everyone was pleasantly helpful and nice."
  • "We appreciated the time you took to explain everything – sometimes multiple times. Very professional and fun too! We feel very
  • "Very professional yet friendly service."
  • 1
  • 2

Identity theft seems to be the new crime of the century, and when someone passes away, they often become an easy and unidentifiable candidate for identity theft. Family members may become unguarded and feel that since their loved one has passed, their identity does not need to be protected. However, the truth is, the deceased tend to be a prime target for identity theft.

Obituaries often release a lot of personal information regarding a decedent. This can become a major source for thieves to locate unsuspecting victims.[1] Thieves are able to get the name of your loved one, the county in which they passed away, and the names of their family members. This makes it easy for the criminal to look up the court record of the decedent.

When you probate your loved one’s estate, the decedent’s name, social security number, and last address all become public record. Further, when you file a Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax Return (regardless of whether the estate was probated), Pennsylvania Inventory, and an Accounting, account numbers and financial institutions also become public record.

Here are some important measures to take when your loved one passes away to help protect your loved one from identity theft.

  1. Notify the Social Security Administration of your loved one’s passing.
  2. Notify the three major credit reporting agencies that your loved one has passed (Equifax at 800-846-5279, Experian at 888-397-3742, and TransUnion at 800-888-4213). This will protect new accounts from being opened in your loved one’s name.[2]
  3. Request a copy of your loved one’s credit report and call all credit card companies your loved one had accounts with and cancel the accounts, even if the account has not been used in years and there is no balance.[3]
  4. Cut up credit cards.
  5. When cleaning out old documents, make sure that you properly dispose of sensitive information by shredding it.[4]

[1] John Sileo, 5 Steps to Stop Identity Theft of a Deceased Family Member, at http://www.sileo.com/5-steps-to-stop-identity-theft-of-a-deceased-family-member/ (last visited Feb. 21, 2011).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Preventative Measures – Checklist, available at http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/idtheft.aspx?id=1814 (last visited Feb. 21, 2011).

Planning and Protecting Logo

Visit PlanningandProtecting.com to find an elder law attorney in your area!