Stop unneeded recurring payments

Manage Accounts

Some accounts are no longer needed and continued payments on them only drains the estate's funds.

For this reason, some accounts can and should be closed early on.

When this is done, store information about the account somewhere for future reference, such as if a beneficiary asks about access to that account down the road.

Some bills might need to continue being paid before the estate is distributed, such as a mortgage for a house in probate, whereas others can be canceled right away.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImprotant Some accounts, like financial accounts that do not transfer on death, need to be handled as part of the probate process and should not be closed outside of that process.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information on accounts that can be closed without going through probate, see the “Pay or cancel ongoing expenses” section of the Guide.

For more information about gathering debts and bills, see the “Keep accurate records of all estate bills, debts, taxes and other expenses” section of the Guide.

Helpful Tips


  • Mortgage (If the home will not immediately pass to a surviving spouse per a homestead allowance or deed/transfer on death deed, continue to make mortgage payments in the short term to avoid the home entering foreclosure)
  • Home loan / payments
  • Insurance premiums
  • Car loan / payments
  • Student loan
  • Personal loans
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • School tuition
  • Housekeeping
  • Landscaping / gardener
  • Home care
  • Nursing care
  • Storage unit
  • Shopping Clubs (Costco, BJs, etc)
  • Satellite radio/Spotify/Apple Music/Pandora other music subscriptions

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant There may be recurring payments not included in the list above.


Each company has their own rules about notice required to end an account and how that account termination should be submitted.

The easiest thing to do is reach out to the customer service phone number or email address for the company and explain that you would like to close the deceased's account.

When reaching out to these companies:

  • State the name, account info, and links for the deceased’s accounts or profile
  • Explain your role in the estate (such as surviving spouse or Executor)
  • Ask about any options available, such as leaving an account open temporarily or setting a future closing date for the account
  • Record details about any account closures, including confirmations of an ended subscription, if applicable

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant If asked, do not pay any outstanding balances. These will be handled as part of the probate process.


While debt collectors may attempt to contact family members of the deceased to collect payment, they are usually not liable for the deceased’s debts.

In general, the deceased’s estate is responsible for any debts left solely in the name of the deceased. If the deceased had loans with a co-signer who survived the deceased, the co-signer will be solely responsible for paying the remaining balance of those loans according to the terms of the loan.

The deceased’s family members may be personally responsible for paying debts of the deceased if:

  • The loan was signed with a co-signer or joint account-holder other than the deceased (the surviving account holder is now responsible for the debt)
  • The deceased lived in a community property state and has a surviving spouse

If the estate is responsible for any outstanding loans, the executor of the estate will be responsible for paying those debts out of any assets left in the estate (e.g., bank account of the deceased, real property, life insurance, etc.).

Personal Considerations


Did the deceased have recurring payments?


Unnecessary payments, such as an online music subscription, should be stopped before canceling the debit/credit cards or bank accounts that pay these bills.

Canceling cards/accounts does not necessarily terminate the subscription or recurring payment due.

Make sure to cancel recurring payments before closing the paying account.

To prevent unwanted bills, cancel or transfer ownership of automatic payments the deceased may have had to the estate.

Also, ensure that all other outstanding payments have been made in order to avoid interest on overdue charges.

If there are any outstanding payments owed for accounts, do not pay them directly.

A surviving heir, beneficiary or executor of the estate should not pay any bills or debt incurred by the deceased with their own funds unless absolutely necessary, such as an urgent mortgage payment.

These bills should only be paid by the executor of the estate, using money from the estate from an estate account, once probate has concluded.

These payments should be changed to the estate bank account as soon as possible.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information about paying the estate's bills and debts, see the [“Pay the estate's bills, debts, and taxes"]section of the Guide(/guides/settling-an-estate/estate-debt).


You may want to confirm that this is the case by checking the deceased's credit card or bank statements.

After confirming that the deceased did not have recurring payments, you can continue with other tasks.


If the deceased had recurring payments:

Unnecessary payments, such as an online music subscription, should be stopped before canceling the debit/credit cards or bank accounts that pay these bills.

Canceling cards/accounts does not necessarily terminate the subscription or recurring payment due.

Make sure to cancel recurring payments before closing the paying account.

To prevent unwanted bills, cancel or transfer ownership of automatic payments the deceased may have had to the estate.

Also, ensure that all other outstanding payments have been made in order to avoid interest on overdue charges.

If there are any outstanding payments owed for accounts, do not pay them directly.

A surviving heir, beneficiary or executor of the estate should not pay any bills or debt incurred by the deceased with their own funds unless absolutely necessary, such as an urgent mortgage payment.

These bills should only be paid by the executor of the estate, using money from the estate from an estate account, once probate has concluded.

These payments should be changed to the estate bank account as soon as possible.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information about paying the estate's bills and debts, see the [“Pay the estate's bills, debts, and taxes"]section of the Guide(/guides/settling-an-estate/estate-debt).

If the deceased did not have recurring payments:

You may want to confirm that this is the case by checking the deceased's credit card or bank statements.

After confirming that the deceased did not have recurring payments, you can continue with other tasks.


Did the deceased have debts?


They will need to be paid as part of the probate process.

You may be able to stop or cancel recurring services to reduce the amount of money the estate will owe.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Do not pay these debts or bills yourself. Let the executor or administrator of the estate know about any of these debts or bills so that they can be paid out of estate funds.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information on paying bills, see the “Pay the Estate’s Bills and Debts" section of the Guide.


Thoroughly review the deceased’s accounts, because it is likely they had some bills or debt.

For example, even funeral and medical expenses are considered a bill or debt of the deceased.

Most individuals, regardless of age, incur at least funeral, cremation, or memorial debt as a result of passing.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Even if the deceased had no bills or debts, state law still typically requires that a notice of death (also called a notice of appointment or notice to creditors) be published in a local newspaper where the deceased lived.

This notice will inform people when the deceased died, who has been appointed executor or administrator, and who to contact if they have an interest in the estate.

State law determines how long individuals have to contact the executor or administrator after the notice is published (usually 3-6 months).


If deceased had debts or bills:

They will need to be paid as part of the probate process.

You may be able to stop or cancel recurring services to reduce the amount of money the estate will owe.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Do not pay these debts or bills yourself. Let the executor or administrator of the estate know about any of these debts or bills so that they can be paid out of estate funds.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information on paying bills, see the “Pay the Estate’s Bills and Debts" section of the Guide.

If the deceased did not have debts or bills:

Thoroughly review the deceased’s accounts, because it is likely they had some bills or debt.

For example, even funeral and medical expenses are considered a bill or debt of the deceased.

Most individuals, regardless of age, incur at least funeral, cremation, or memorial debt as a result of passing.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Even if the deceased had no bills or debts, state law still typically requires that a notice of death (also called a notice of appointment or notice to creditors) be published in a local newspaper where the deceased lived.

This notice will inform people when the deceased died, who has been appointed executor or administrator, and who to contact if they have an interest in the estate.

State law determines how long individuals have to contact the executor or administrator after the notice is published (usually 3-6 months).


Did the deceased own the property they lived in?


Distributing property to surviving family members or Beneficiaries designated in a Last Will & Testament is a lengthy process that will take place at a later time.

For now, it's important to manage short-term needs of the deceased's real estate to prevent loss of property value or unwanted bills.

If the deceased owned the property they lived in, secure that property.

If the home will be unattended for some period of time, make sure to throw out any refuse.

Have the mail forwarded so it does not pile up - a clear sign no one is home.

If there is a lawn or garden, ensure that it is maintained.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Keep utilities on to protect the property. If the water service lapses during cold months, pipes could freeze and the property could become damaged. In the short term, it’s often easiest to maintain the utilities.

Make sure you keep records for any bills paid.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information about managing the deceased's real estate, see the "Manage Real Estate" section of the Guide.

For more information on keeping records related to estate expenses, see the "Inventory estate assets and debts" section of the Guide.


Contact their landlord and anyone they may have been living with.

Arrange access to the property.

Ensure rent continues to be paid (by the estate) while the deceased's personal items and valuables remain in the rental property.

If there are any utilities, trash services, or other fees owed by the deceased at the time of their passing, those should be paid by the estate.


If the deceased owned their property:

Distributing property to surviving family members or Beneficiaries designated in a Last Will & Testament is a lengthy process that will take place at a later time.

For now, it's important to manage short-term needs of the deceased's real estate to prevent loss of property value or unwanted bills.

If the deceased owned the property they lived in, secure that property.

If the home will be unattended for some period of time, make sure to throw out any refuse.

Have the mail forwarded so it does not pile up - a clear sign no one is home.

If there is a lawn or garden, ensure that it is maintained.

Exclamation_Icon.svgImportant Keep utilities on to protect the property. If the water service lapses during cold months, pipes could freeze and the property could become damaged. In the short term, it’s often easiest to maintain the utilities.

Make sure you keep records for any bills paid.

Guides_Icon.svgRead More For more information about managing the deceased's real estate, see the "Manage Real Estate" section of the Guide.

For more information on keeping records related to estate expenses, see the "Inventory estate assets and debts" section of the Guide.

If the deceased rented the property they lived in:

Contact their landlord and anyone they may have been living with.

Arrange access to the property.

Ensure rent continues to be paid (by the estate) while the deceased's personal items and valuables remain in the rental property.

If there are any utilities, trash services, or other fees owed by the deceased at the time of their passing, those should be paid by the estate.


Manage Accounts