The post office must be notified of a death.
The post office must be notified of a death.

A death in the family is a traumatic and sad event. Sometimes, family members or friends forget subtle issues, such as notifying certain agencies about the deceased. One of those agencies is the United States Postal Service, which will send mail to the deceased until proper notification is given. The post office has several steps loved ones can follow to end mail to the deceased.

The Change of Address form, or COA, is the technical form required for all Post Office notifications. These forms are typically used for people when they move and informs the Post Office of where they are moving too. However, the same form is used even in the case of a deceased person.

The COA form has a section for the previous address of the addressee and a section for the new address of the addressee. In the case of the deceased, the relative or friend can utilize the COA in two ways. The first option is for the relative or friend to write on the COA their address so that the deceased's mail can be forwarded to a different address. Mail can also be forwarded to an executor. Neither option cancels mail from being processed and sent to the deceased.

Legal notification is the only way to permanently cease mail to the deceased. The family member or friend must send a legal document from the executor of the estate since a death certificate is not enough for the post office to confirm the deceased's passing. Legal forms from the executor should be sent to the local post office branch where the forms will be processed.

To make sure commercial mail never makes it to the deceased person's address, the family member or friend can contact the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The DMA must cease all mailing to a person listed under the Deceased Do Not Mail List. For a $1 fee, the family member or friend can enter the deceased's name into the database. For the next three months, all commercial mail should cease.